Sometimes, people use the term “hostile work environment” in reference to nearly any unpleasant work situation: A rude boss, obnoxious coworkers, an unpleasant office or lack of benefits. It’s true that these issues can make a work environment very undesirable, but they do not necessarily meet the legal definition of a hostile environment.
Technically, a hostile work environment is a workplace in which the behavior of supervisors or coworkers has created a harassing environment that a reasonable person would find so abusive or intimidating that it impacts the ability to work. If you are wondering whether your current work conditions could be considered a hostile work environment, continue reading for a list of requirements and examples.
Am I The Victim of A Toxic Work Enviornment? If Yes, what Protections Do I Have?
California law protects workers from illegal discrimination by employers based on the following:
- Race, color
- Ancestry, national origin
- Religion, creed
- Age (40 and over)
- Disability (mental and physical)
- Sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related medical conditions)
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity, gender expression
- Medical condition
- Genetic information
- Marital status
- Military or veteran status
California law also protects workers who are retaliated or discriminated against for engaging in a “protected activity”. Some examples of protected activities include the following:
- Complaining about a safety or health hazard in the workplace and/or refusing to perform work that may be hazardous.
- Taking time off to serve on a jury.
- Filing or threatening to file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office.
- Taking time off to appear in court to comply with a subpoena or court order as a witness in a court proceeding.
- Exercise of lactation rights.
- Leave of absence for bone marrow or organ donation.
- An employee who refuses to lift or transfer a patient due to the health care worker’s concerns about patient or worker safety or because of the lack of a trained lift team or equipment.
- Disclosing a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis to an employer in order to quarantine.
- Complaining about the violation of any licensing or other laws relating to child day care facilities; testifying in a proceeding relating to the violation of any licensing or other laws.
- Seeking information form EDD about unemployment benefits.
- Expressing an opinion about an alternative workweek election, whether in opposition or support of it.
What Are Your Choices If You’re A Victim of Employment Harassment?
If you have been a victim of discrimination at work, based upon a protected status, there is help available. California state law provides a variety of remedies for victims of employment discrimination, including:
- Back pay (past loss of earnings)
- Front pay (future loss of earnings)
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Policy changes
- Reasonable accommodation(s)
- Damages for emotional distress
- Punitive damages
- Attorney’s fees and statutory costs
Contact Salusky Law Group Today
If you have been a victim of discrimination at work, based upon a protected status, there is help available. Contact Salusky Law Group today by calling (562) 855-0004 or by filling out the form: