Everyone deserves to be treated equally and respectfully in the workplace. For many, it is where
we spend the majority of our waking hours. If someone is making your job difficult because of
workplace harassment, you may have a claim against that person or against your employer. The
experienced employment attorneys at Williams Iagmin have handled many cases of workplace
harassment and we take pride in their personalized approach to each and every case.
Under California law, unlawful workplace harassment occurs when a person directs negative,
inappropriate, or unwanted conduct at another person in the workplace that is focused on certain
characteristics. This can include the victim’s race, disability, gender, age, religion, gender
identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or pregnancy. Workplace harassment can come in
many forms, but the most common types of workplace harassment include the following:
● Inappropriate jokes
● Derogatory comments and innuendo
● Unwanted touching or hitting
● Verbal threats, outright or implied
● Visual harassment with posters or signs
● Aggressive or repeated requests for sexual favors
● Showing favoritism based on a characteristic
However, it is important to note that not all negative or unwanted actions in the workplace rise to
the level of workplace harassment. In order to qualify as workplace harassment, the actions must
be motivated by an unlawful reason, such as targeting a person for harassment based on a
protected class. The severity, frequency, and context of the conduct is also taken into
consideration when determining whether actions constitute harassment.
For example, if a manager makes derogatory comments toward an employee because that
employee is not hitting sales goals, that most likely does not rise to the level of workplace
harassment. However, in the same scenario, if the manager is making those comments because
the employee is a woman, that is harassment targeting a protected class and would likely rise to
the level of workplace harassment. Whether or not actions in the workplace are considered
harassment can be a fine line, so it is important to talk to an attorney about the specific facts of
your case to learn about your legal options.
If an employer allows for their employees to be harassed, California law provides a way for
victims to receive compensation for the harm caused. The individual harasser as well as the
employer can be held liable for workplace harassment, and employers are strictly liable if the
harasser is the employee’s supervisor or manager. If the harasser is another co-worker, the
employer can be held liable if they knew or should have known about the harassment and failed
to take immediate corrective action.
Compensation to victims of workplace harassment can include backpay, contributions to
retirement funds, and monetary damages in addition to money for unequal pay or refusal to
promote. Compensation also includes payment for attorneys’ fees, expert witness testimony,
interest on amounts won in a lawsuit, and damages for the employee’s pain and suffering or
emotional distress stemming from the harassment.
To learn more about your legal options regarding workplace harassment, call or contact the
experienced employment attorneys at Williams Iagmin in San Diego today to schedule a free
consultation of your case.