Workers should be able to earn a living in a safe and secure environment. You should not face threats, harassment, or bullying on the job based on your race, gender, age, or any other protected characteristic. Employees in California are protected against workplace bullying under a number of different laws.
California employers have a duty to ensure that their workplace is free from unlawful bullying. If you or your loved one was subject to a hostile workplace environment because of bullying, please do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced Los Angeles employment lawyer for immediate legal guidance.
Workplace Bullying California: The Laws Protecting Employees
California employees are protected against workplace bullying under several state and federal labors laws. Among other statutes, you may be protected from workplace bullying under:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and
- The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
In some areas, state and federal laws overlap. In other cases, these laws protect a different subset of employees. Notably, employers in California are required to follow the relevant law that provides the greatest protection for workers. In most cases, that law is the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The FEHA generally offers the greatest level of protection to employees in California.
Understanding Protected Characteristics
Only certain characteristics are protected under California’s anti-workplace bullying laws. You cannot file a legal claim simply because a manager or co-worker was ‘rude’ or ‘mean’. As unpleasant as that may be, it is not necessarily legally actionable.
However, if you were subject to bullying based on a protected characteristic, you may have a hostile work environment claim. Some common protected characteristics include:
What Actions are Considered to Be Workplace Bullying
Workplace bullying comes in a wide range of different forms. It could include anything from overt threats to jokes and teasing. Workplace bullying does not require ill intent on the part of the bully. One person’s ‘jokes’ may be damaging bullying to another person.
In most cases, California courts consider whether or not the ‘bullying’ created a hostile work environment for the victim. To prove that a hostile work environment existed, a plaintiff must generally establish one of the following three things:
- The bullying created a significant disturbance in the workplace;
- The bullying affected the employee’s ability to perform their job; or
- The bullying substantially undermined the employee’s sense of well-being.
In considering whether or not a hostile work environment existed, California courts will consider the severity of the conduct, the pervasiveness of the conduct, and the overall context of the workplace.
The more severe, more frequent, and more unusual the bullying behavior, the more likely that the victim was subject to a hostile work environment for which their employer should be held legally liable.
Contact Our California Hostile Work Environment Attorneys Today
At Workplace Rights Law Group LLP, our Los Angeles employment law attorneys have extensive experience handling hostile work environment claims. If you were subject to bullying in the workplace or any other form of a hostile work environment, your employer may be liable.
To find out more about what we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm for a free, fully confidential initial consultation.