A Hostile Work Environment Due to Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace is far too common in California, despite laws that protect you against harassment and punish those responsible. Unfortunately, sexual harassment can create a “hostile work environment,” which makes you nervous or even frightened of going to work. A hostile work environment can make your job far more difficult and can even interfere with your personal wellbeing.

If you are facing a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment, the Orange County employment law attorneys at The NASSIRI LAW GROUP can help you to take action and recover compensation for physical, financial and emotional damages. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.

What Is a Hostile Work Environment?

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center states that

“A hostile environment can result from the unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers, customers, contractors, or anyone else with whom the victim interacts on the job, and the unwelcome conduct renders the workplace atmosphere intimidating, hostile, or offensive.”

The frequency, severity, danger, level of humiliation, and the resulting work performance will all help to determine whether or not a hostile work environment was created as the result of sexual harassment.

You do not have to personally be the subject of harassment in California to allege that sexual harassment has created a hostile work environment and to take legal action. According to California employment law, an employee can bring a claim for a hostile work environment even if he or she wasn’t personally the target of the harassing conduct, provided that the employee witnessed and was affected by the behavior in his or her immediate work environment.

What Behaviors Contribute to a Hostile Work Environment?

Any type of sexual harassment can lead to a hostile work environment, or what the EEOC refers to as “a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.” Some of these types of conduct may include (but are not limited to):

  • Sexual jokes.
  • Mockery.
  • Ridicule.
  • Intimidation.
  • Offensive gestures or pictures.
  • Crude suggestions.
  • Sexual advances or propositions.
  • The suggestion that an employee perform sexual favors in order for employment opportunities.

A hostile work environment may be created by a supervisor, or by one or more co-workers or peers in the workplace.

What Can I Do If My Workplace Has Become Hostile Due to Sexual Harassment?

If you are the victim of a hostile work environment, first and foremost, you must keep track of any instances of harassment that may occur. You should also file a complaint with your superiors or HR department. Your workplace is obligated to have a grievance procedure in place and to deal with these issues seriously and in a timely manner.

When an employer doesn’t have policies in place preventing a hostile work environment and/or when an employer doesn’t respond to protect employees, the employer can become legally liable for any damages resulting from the hostile environment. This can include lost wages as well as compensation for physical and emotional harm resulting from the harassing or illegal behavior.

A qualified attorney will be able to explain your rights in hostile work environment cases and can help to seek justice for you and anyone else in your office negatively affected by a hostile working environment due to sexual harassment.

Call an Attorney Who Can Help With A Hostile Work Environment

If you believe that harassment is leading to a hostile work environment, an Orange County employment lawyer at The NASSIRI LAW GROUP can help you take action. Give us a call today at 714-937-2020 to schedule your free consultation.