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Orange County Hostile Workplace Lawyer

If you are being harassed at work, and this harassment has created a work environment that is hostile, intimidating, abusive, or oppressive, you should speak with an Orange County hostile workplace attorney about your rights and legal options. At Aegis Law Firm, we routinely represent clients throughout the Orange County and Los Angeles areas, who have been wronged at work.

  • Our team of passionate employment law attorneys have represented clients and secured over $300 million in verdicts and settlements.
  • For almost 20 years, we have been helping real people like you win the compensation they deserve.
  • With a 99% success rate, you can count on excellent representation in your case.

If you are looking for an Orange Country hostile workplace attorney who will fight for you, call Aegis Law Firm today at (949) 379-6250. Your initial consultation is free, so make that call today.

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Workplace Harassment

Sometimes work can be a drag. However, when just the idea of showing up at work instills fear and trepidation in the mind of an employee, there might be a problem. But not all uncomfortable work environments meet the legal definition of a hostile workplace.

Harassment is a form of discrimination that is prohibited under both California and federal law. California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace. Employers are required to take reasonable steps to ensure that employees are not subjected to harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. This means that employers must have workplace policies to prevent such behavior, and when cases of such behavior arise, employers have a duty to address those cases and take corrective action.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, also prohibit harassment in the workplace.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines workplace harassment as an “… unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy), national origin, older age (beginning at age 40), disability, or genetic information (including family medical history).”

What Constitutes Workplace Harassment?

California law provides for different types of workplace harassment. 

Hostile Work Environment Harassment

You may be entitled to a claim for hostile work environment harassment if you were subjected to harassment based on your protected status, i.e., having any of the characteristics identified by the EEOC definition of workplace harassment. And, this harassment created a hostile work environment for you.

To succeed in your claim, you must prove:

  • You were an employee, contractor, intern, or volunteer with the defendant
  • You were subjected to harassing conduct because of your protected status
  • The harassing conduct was severe or pervasive
  • A reasonable person in your circumstance would have perceived the workplace to be hostile
  • That supervisor engaged in or knew knew or should have known about the harassing conduct and did not take immediate or appropriate action to correct the behavior
  • You were harmed
  • The harassment was a substantial factor in causing you harm

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

A person who makes a claim for quid pro quo sexual harassment must prove the following elements of their claim:

  • That they were an employee, contractor, or job applicant of the defendant
  • The alleged harasser made unwanted sexual advances or engaged in other conduct of a sexual nature
  • The terms of their employment was made contingent on their acceptance of the unwanted sexual advances or sexual conduct
  • That the alleged harasser was an employee or agent of the defendant when the harassment took place
  • That the claimant was harmed, and the alleged harasser’s behavior was a substantial factor in causing the harm

Legal Requirements for a Hostile Workplace

Not every harassing conduct or unwanted sexual advance will meet the legal requirements of a hostile workplace that gives rise to a claim. The conduct complained of must be severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment.

Severe or pervasive harassment is determined after consideration of the following factors:

  • The nature of the offending conduct or behavior
  • The frequency and duration of the conduct or behavior
  • The circumstances under which the conduct occurred
  • Whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating for the victim

Although conduct that is sporadic, occasional, or isolated cannot typically be characterised as harassment, there are single incidents that may be so egregious that they meet the legal requirement. 

If you are unsure about whether the behavior you are enduring at work is severe or pervasive as to create a hostile work environment, an Orange County hostile workplace attorney can help you make a determination based on the facts of your case.

Common Examples of Conduct that may Create a Hostile Workplace

Isolated or trivial conduct may not meet the legal requirements for hostile workplace harassment, but the following conduct can create a hostile work environment: 

  • Offensive jokes or ridicule
  • Racial or sexual epithets
  • Verbal insults
  • Physical threats or assaults
  • Offensive objects 
  • Offensive pictures
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Any conduct that interferes with the victim’s work performance

You don’t have to be the direct target of any such conduct to be a victim of unlawful harassment. The alleged harasser in a hostile workplace does not have to be your direct supervisor. Harassing conduct by another supervisor, a co-worker, and agent of your employer, or a non-employee that does business with your employer, can create a hostile workplace.

Employers are encouraged to create an environment that disapproves of unlawful harassment. They must take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment by providing training to all employees, and taking appropriate and immediate action when an issue arises. Employers should also have effective policies that address complaint and grievance procedures.

Employees are encouraged to speak up for themselves as early as possible and tell their alleged harasser that their conduct is offensive and unwelcome. Employees should report harassment to a senior officer or follow the employer’s complaints procedure as soon as possible. This may help to prevent the harassment from escalating, and it provides documentation that may become useful if you need to make a claim against your employer.

Can You Claim Damages Even Though You Didn’t Lose Your Job?

You can still suffer damages even though your harassment did not lead to termination of your employment. Recoverable damages may include economic damages for past and future earnings as well as past and future medical expenses, and noneconomic damages for past and future physical pain and mental suffering.

Contact an Orange County Hostile Workplace Attorney

If you believe that you have suffered harassment that created a hostile workplace for you, an Orange County hostile workplace attorney from our firm can help you. Aegis Law Firm is known for our team’s attention to detail, timeliness, and efficiency. You can trust us to help you resolve your hostile workplace problems. Call us today at (949) 379-6250 to schedule a free consultation.