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If you experience mistreatment at work that is based on your race, sex, gender, national origin, religion, or age, then know that you are legally protected if you report it to your employer. Employees in the state of California have the right to be treated with respect and work in an environment that is free of harassment and discrimination.
Unfortunately, not all employers follow the law, and some fail to properly address harassment and discrimination that has been reported by vulnerable employees. If you have experienced workplace harassment or discrimination, you can file a complaint and attempt to recover damages.
To discuss your legal concerns with a qualified employment law attorney, please call (818) 990-8300 today.
What Is Considered Harassment?
According to The California Department of Justice, harassment can be verbal, visual, or physical conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. It is important to note that the harassing party's actions do not have to be motivated by sexual desire to be considered harassment. If the conduct creates a hostile work environment and is based on your actual or perceived gender identity or sex-related characteristics, then it can be considered unlawful harassment.
If you encounter hostile conduct based on any of the following characteristics, it can be considered harassment:
- Your gender identity
- Your sexual orientation
- Your perceived gender identity
- Your perceived sexual orientation
- Your pregnancy status
- Your medical condition
For additional information, visit our article on Am I Being Sexually Harassed At Work.
How to Report Harassment that Occurs at Work
You should immediately report any instances of harassment to your company's Human Resources department or your supervisor. Doing this will give your employer notice of the harmful conduct, which means they can be liable if they fail to promptly take action to correct the issue. Even if your employer isn't aware of the harassment, you can still hold the harassing employee or individual personally liable for their actions.
If the harassment persists after you complain to your employer, you should file a workplace harassment complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). You can file a claim online, via mail, or by phone call.
Before DFEH can investigate your complaint, you must first gather the following information:
- Specific facts about the harassment incident
- Specific records that can prove the harassment occurred
- The name and contact information of the individual or individuals who harassed you
- The names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident
Our seasoned lawyers at Kingsley and Kingsley can walk you through each phase of the complaint process.
What Is Considered Discrimination?
It is illegal for employers to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee in a variety of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, training, wages, and benefits.
The following laws protect employees from discrimination in the workplace:
- The Civil Rights Act: Title VII of this act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against a person based on their race, color, religion, national origin or sex. The civil rights act also protects employees against retaliation if they file a claim regarding discrimination in the workplace.
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act: This act expands the protections of the Civil rights act regarding “sex” to include prohibiting sex discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and/or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.
- The Equal Pay Act: This lawprohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women who perform equal work.
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act: The ADA protects employees and job applicants who are 40 or older from discrimination in the workplace.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act: Title I of this act makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person who has a disability in any aspect of their employment.
How to Report Discrimination that Occurs at Work
Just like workplace harassment, you should immediately report any instances of discrimination you experience to your company's Human Resources department or your supervisor. If the discrimination continues after you complain to your employer, you can file a workplace discrimination complaint with DFEH.
You will need the following information to file a complaint with DFEH:
- Specific facts about the forms of discrimination you encountered at work
- Specific records that can prove the acts of discrimination occurred
- The name and contact information of the individual or individuals who discriminated against you
- The names and contact information of anyone who witnessed any acts of discrimination against you
We Are Here to Help You Fight Back Against Employer Retaliation
At Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers, we are equipped with the legal insight and extensive resources that you need in your corner to hold your employer accountable for wrongdoing. Whether you have been sexually harassed by a supervisor or discriminated against during a job interview, we can provide you with reliable legal counsel each step of the way.