Knowing When You’re A Victim of A Toxic Work Environment

Knowing When You’re A Victim of A Toxic Work Environment

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)
  • Hiring/reinstatement
  • Promotion
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Policy changes
  • Training
  • 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: