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Los Angeles Hostile Workplace Lawyer

If you have been a victim of workplace harassment, which created a hostile work environment you might be entitled to compensation for damages you suffered. Call the Los Angeles hostile workplace attorneys at Aegis Law Firm for more information about your rights and how we can help you.

  • At Aegis Law Firm, our Los Angeles employment law attorneys are prepared to use the expertise we have gained over our years of experience to get you the compensation you deserve.
  • We are experienced and trial-tested advocates who will fight for you even when others won’t.
  • We have secured over $300 million verdicts and settlements for individuals wronged at work throughout Los Angeles and Orange Country areas.
  • Our Los Angeles hostile workplace lawyers will fight for you at no cost to you unless we win.

If you are employed in a hostile workplace or have been forced to resign because of a hostile workplace, you have rights and we can help you enforce your rights. For passionate representation in your hostile workplace case, call Aegis Law Firm today at (949) 379-6250. Your initial consultation is free, and we offer Spanish-speaking services.

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What is the Legal Definition of a Hostile Workplace?

Are you in a situation where the thought of going to work terrifies you? If so, you might be in a hostile workplace. The law protects you from harassment in the workplace, which creates a hostile environment. Workplace harassment can result in not just monetary damages to an employee, but can cause emotional stress and other mental health disorders. Every worker deserves to discharge their duties in a work environment that is free of stress and victimization.

There is a legal definition for a hostile workplace. It is not enough for an employee to feel discomfort in the workplace. In order to bring a claim for damages related to harm suffered in a hostile workplace, the related conduct must meet the legal definition of a hostile workplace. California law defines a hostile workplace as harassment of an employee that results in a work environment that is hostile, offensive, intimidating, abusive, or oppressive.

What Damages Can You Get From a Hostile Workplace Claim?

You may be able to receive monetary compensation for a hostile workplace claim. The type and amount of damages you can recover will depend on the harm you suffered. For example, you may be able to recover the following types of compensation

Compensatory Damages 

This type of compensation is intended to compensate the victim for the harm suffered, such as their pain and suffering, emotional distress, embarrassment, and humiliation.

If the hostile environment resulted in wrongful termination or constructive discharge, you may also be able to recover damages for lost wages and benefits, such as back pay (lost wages from the time of termination). The court may also order reinstatement to your previous position, but if it is not feasible, front pay may be awarded (compensation for future lost earnings).

Punitive damages may also be available if the employer’s conduct was egregious, as this type of compensation is meant to punish them and deter others from similar behavior. 

Non-Monetary Remedies

In addition to financial compensation, the court may issue an order directing the individuals responsible for the hostile behavior to cease and desist such conduct immediately, mandatory counseling for the parties involved, workplace reassignment, and/or changes in reporting structures, policies, training programs, or supervision.

Legal remedies can also include protection against retaliation, as employers are prohibited from taking adverse actions against an employee for filing a complaint or participating in legal proceedings related to a hostile work environment claim.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

Legal cases are often subject to a specific timeframe referred to as the “statute of limitations.” In cases involving a hostile work environment, a formal complaint must be filed with California’s Civil Rights Department (CRD) within one year of the incident. The CRD will then review your complaint before a lawsuit can be initiated. If the issue is not resolved, they will issue a “right-to-sue” letter, which allows you one more year to pursue a lawsuit.  It is imperative to act promptly and pursue claims within these time limits. If you miss the statute of limitations, your case will likely be dismissed. 

How Can a Los Angeles Hostile Workplace Lawyer Help?

A Los Angeles Hostile Workplace Lawyer can play a crucial role in addressing and resolving the issues going on at work:

Legal Knowledge

A hostile workplace lawyer possesses specialized knowledge of employment laws and regulations. They can assess your situation to determine if it meets the legal criteria for a hostile work environment.

Legal Advice

An attorney can provide legal advice tailored to your specific situation and guide you on the best course of action. This may include steps to take within the company, filing a complaint, or pursuing legal action.

Gather Evidence

A skilled hostile workplace lawyer can assist you in gathering various types of evidence crucial for substantiating your claim. They can guide you on proper documentation practices, such as keeping a detailed record of incidents, preserving relevant emails, messages, or other communications. They can speak to witnesses and obtain copies of company policies, procedures, and handbooks that highlight violations contributing to the hostile work environment. Your attorney can also help you secure any available surveillance footage, photographs, or audio recordings that capture evidence of inappropriate conduct. 

Communication with Your Employer

An attorney can handle all communication with your employer on your behalf, addressing the concerns raised and seeking resolution. This may involve negotiations, discussions about policy changes, or mediation.

Filing Complaints

If internal resolution is not possible or effective, a hostile workplace lawyer can assist you in filing complaints with relevant government agencies, such as the CRD or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Litigation Representation

If legal action is necessary, your lawyer can represent you in court. They will present your case, cross-examine witnesses, and advocate for your rights, seeking a favorable outcome.

Emotional Support

Dealing with a hostile work environment can be emotionally challenging. A lawyer can provide support, helping you navigate the legal process while offering guidance on managing stress and your well-being.

How to Establish a Hostile Workplace Claim

An hostile workplace results from harassment that changes the work environment in a manner that affects an employee and causes them harm. To be successful in a hostile workplace claim, an employee must prove the factual elements of their claim:

  • That plaintiff was an employee, contractor, intern, or volunteer with the defendant employer;
  • That the plaintiff was subject to harassing conduct because they were a member of a protected class of persons because of their age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, or other protected status;
  • That the harassing conduct was severe or pervasive;
  • That a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s circumstances would have considered the work environment to be hostile, intimidating, offensive, oppressive, or abusive;
  • That the plaintiff, indeed, found the work environment to be hostile, intimidating, offensive, oppressive, or abusive;
  • That unlawful conduct such as sexual harassment took place, a supervisor employed by the defendant engaged in unlawful conduct; or that the defendant or their supervisors knew of the unlawful conduct and failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action;
  • That the plaintiff was harmed; and
  • That the unlawful conduct was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.

The harassing conduct must be severe and pervasive to rise to a level that creates a hostile environment. That means that conduct that is occasional, isolated, sporadic, or trivial will not be sufficient to make a claim. However, there might be isolated incidents that may be severe enough to cause a hostile workplace. If you have experienced or are experiencing harassment and you are not sure what your legal position is, you should speak with a hostile workplace attorney in Los Angeles who can assess your case and talk to you about your legal options.

Examples of Conduct that May Constitute Harassment

There are different kinds of conduct that may constitute harassment. These include:

  • Unwanted sexual advances: This may include explicit comments, gestures, or advances.
  • Unwanted touching: Patting, hugging, or any form of physical contact that makes an individual feel uncomfortable or violated.
  • Assault: A deliberate threat or attempt to inflict physical harm.
  • Offensive posters, objects, cartoons, or derogatory drawings: Visual displays of explicit or implicit discriminatory content, offensive language, or inappropriate imagery targeting individuals based on race, gender, religion, or other protected characteristics.
  • Obscene language, slurs, or demeaning comments: Offensive and disrespectful language based on an employee’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics.
  • Verbal insults: Verbal abuse, name-calling, or the use of offensive slurs to demean and humiliate colleagues.
  • Threats: Direct verbal threats, intimidation tactics, or implied warnings of harm to an individual or their career.

While one-off occurrences of these types of behavior may constitute harassment, the harassment must be severe and pervasive to create a hostile workplace. Whether harassing behavior is severe and pervasive will depend on the particular facts of the case and other factors including:

  • The nature of the conduct
  • How often, and over what period of time, the conduct occurred
  • The circumstances under which the conduct occurred
  • Whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating

All the employee must prove is that a reasonable person who experienced the same harassing conduct would find that it affected their work conditions and work performance in the same way.

What To Do If You Are Working in a Hostile Environment

Working in a hostile environment can be emotionally and professionally challenging, but taking certain steps can help you navigate the situation.

  • Document Incidents: Keep a detailed record of incidents, including dates, times, locations, and individuals involved. Document specific behaviors or comments that contribute to the hostile environment.
  • Review Company Policies: Familiarize yourself with your company’s policies and procedures to understand the grievance or complaint process.
  • Speak Up: If you feel comfortable and safe doing so, consider addressing the issue directly with the individuals involved. Clearly express your concerns and request that the behavior stop.
  • Seek Support: Talk to colleagues, friends, or family members about your experiences. Seeking emotional support can help you cope with the challenges and provide perspectives on how to navigate the situation.
  • Talk to Human Resources: If the hostile environment persists, schedule a meeting with your company’s human resources department. Present your documented evidence and share your concerns, seeking assistance in resolving the issues.
  • Maintain Professionalism: Despite the challenging circumstances, strive to maintain professionalism in your work. Continue performing your job to the best of your ability, as this can strengthen your position in any future resolution processes.
  • Consult a Hostile Workplace Lawyer: If internal efforts do not lead to a resolution or if the situation escalates, speak to a hostile workplace lawyer as soon as possible. They can provide legal guidance, assess the merits of your case, and assist you in taking appropriate legal action.
  • Explore External Remedies: If internal channels prove ineffective, your lawyer may suggest filing a formal complaint with the CRD or EEOC. The CRD or EEOC will decide whether to accept the case and investigate. They will attempt to resolve the situation with your employer and may also decide to take legal action. If the issue remains unresolved, your attorney can help you file a lawsuit.

Each situation is unique, and the appropriate course of action may vary. It is crucial to prioritize your well-being and take steps that align with your comfort level and the severity of the situation.

Contact a Los Angeles Hostile Workplace Lawyer Today

If you feel that you are suffering in a hostile workplace, it is important to take action as soon as possible. Your employer may have workplace policies regarding harassment. However, you should always start by putting a co-worker or employer on notice that you are uncomfortable with their behavior. If the behavior persists, you should make a report to your supervisor or other authority following the guidelines in your workplace policies. It is important to document incidents or harassing conduct and keep good records.

If your employer fails to take action to remedy the situation, and hostility escalates, then it is time to speak with an experienced Los Angeles hostile workplace lawyer. Call the passionate and experienced hostile workplace lawyers at Aegis Law Firm. Your initial consultation is free and if we take your case, you pay no fees unless we win. Call us today at (949) 379-6250 to schedule your appointment.