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Los Angeles Hostile Work Environment Lawyers

All employers are responsible for providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. But when a boss or coworker uses words or actions to create a work atmosphere that is discriminatory, the employer could be held liable for failing to protect its employees from a hostile workplace.

What Makes a Workplace Hostile?
A number of us have dealt with rude or obnoxious co-workers at some point in our careers. But not all rude or inappropriate behaviors are considered “hostile” under the law. In California, a workplace is only considered hostile if the behaviors, actions or communication of employees are discriminatory and egregious such that they interfere with an employee’s ability to perform her job. It may be challenging to work at a place where the boss is rude or quick to complain about your quality of work, but that is not necessarily illegal. If your boss verbally berates you about your religion, gender, race or age, however, you may have a claim for hostile work environment.

The legal requirements for a hostile work environment include:

  • The actions or behavior by your coworkers or employer must discriminate against protected classifications such as religion, disability, gender, race or age.
  • The behavior must last over time. An inappropriate remark does not generally make a workplace hostile under the law until the problem is significant, pervasive and long-lasting.
  • The hostile behavior is severe. The discriminatory acts must be severe enough to disrupt the employee’s ability to work.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can create a legally actionable hostile work environment. This occurs when a boss, manager, supervisor, or co-worker’s sexualized speech or conduct is so severe or pervasive that it prevents the employee from carrying out his or her job duties. If you have been sexually harassed at work, learn more about your rights here.

Coping with a Hostile Work Environment
What steps should employees take if their work environment is hostile? The first step is to ask the offending employee to stop their inappropriate behavior or communication. If the employee is not comfortable confronting the employee on his or her own, they should get help from a manager or Human Resources. If you are comfortable doing so, clearly communicate to the individual that his or her behavior is offensive, discriminatory and inappropriate and that you will not tolerate the behavior. You may consider making notes about what was said during this conversation and the date on which it took place. If you are not comfortable confronting the offensive behavior or if that behavior continues, then you should go to your coworker’s supervisor. If that does not work or if the harasser is the owner or CEO of the company, then consulting with an attorney may be your best option.

Overcoming a Hostile Work Environment
A hostile work environment can make performing your job duties very difficult and emotionally draining. You do not have to tolerate this treatment. If you are being harassed at work and have questions about your rights, contact the accomplished legal team at Strong Advocates. We will review the facts of your case, explain the laws that apply to your claim and clearly outline your legal rights and options. We will help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Please contact us at (800) 870-9886 for a comprehensive and confidential consultation.

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