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What Is Considered Work Harassment In California?

Updated: Nov 2

What Is Harassment At Work And How To Find The Best Work Harassment Lawyers In Los Angeles

California has one of the most comprehensive laws on employee rights among the US states. Several identified "protected characteristics" cannot be used as reasons for termination, retaliation, and harassment in the workplace.


This post will focus on workplace harassment in California, what laws apply to them, and how they are handled by prescreened Employment Attorneys in Los Angeles.


What Is Considered A Work Harassment In California?

Workplace harassment is any form of unwanted behavior that is offensive or intrusive to a target employee's ability to work. Harassment at the workplace can happen in several ways for several reasons. It can be physical, verbal, or sexual in nature.


In California employment claims, workplace harassment is often associated with discrimination of an employee's protected characteristics.


What Are The "Protected Characteristics" In California Employment Law?

Protected characteristics are considered a class or a group of people who belong to a particular protected demographic. Employees who belong to any of these classes cannot be discriminated against or harassed at work for it.

These protected characteristics include the following:

Consult your California employment lawyer if you're unsure whether your case qualifies as a discrimination or harassment claim.

What Laws Affect Harassment In The Workplace In California?

Workplace harassment can take various forms, so determining whether a line has been crossed can be tricky.

One individual may not find an occurrence very upsetting, while another may find it very insulting.

In addition, the development of communication tools like social media, messaging, texting, and apps have given harassers greater opportunities to find and get in touch with their targets.

Both federal and Californian laws protect against workplace harassment. However, California state laws tend to cover more ground regarding employment discrimination, so the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) governs most workplace harassment cases in California state courts.


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What Are The Different Types Of Harassment In The Workplace?

Workplace harassment can come from various sources and manifest in multiple ways (verbally or physically). Here are the most common workplace harassment examples our prescreened harassment lawyers in California have handled so far:


Physical Harassment

Physical harassment can include hitting (battery), threatening to hit (assault), groping, pushing, shoving, embracing, and other types of unwelcome touching.


If your boss is doing or refuses to address the harassment, you should contact a California employment lawyer ASAP.

Sexual Harassment

Physical and verbal harassment are both forms of sexual harassment. California sexual harassment law specifies two categories:

  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a boss promises an employee a promotion in exchange for performing a desired sexual act or threatens to demote them if they refuse. Unlike other forms of harassment, quid pro quo sexual harassment needs only one instance to constitute a legal claim.

  • A hostile work environment entails persistent unwelcome acts that foster a hostile work environment in California. Unlike quid pro harassment, there needs to be more evidence to show how constant and negatively impactful the harassment is.

All employees in California are protected by the law, and it is your employer's responsibility to end sexual harassment. If they refuse to address it, you should consider contacting California sexual harassment lawyers to assist you.

California attorneys for sexual harassment are aware of the specific challenges of such cases. They are experienced in gathering evidence and building solid cases to get the best results.

Verbal Harassment

The most frequent form of harassment is frequently verbal. For example, name-calling and threats of violence can both be considered verbal harassment.


Unfortunately, rude or offensive chatter is not always deemed harassment. Sometimes, clients don't know if their situation can qualify as verbal harassment. The best thing to do in this situation would be to consult Employment Attorneys in Los Angeles so they can review your claim, collect evidence, and represent you in negotiations or in court.


Who Can You Sue For Workplace Harassment In California?


Anyone can harass employees at harassment, including managers, coworkers, contractors, and even clients.

In general, the more power an employer has over the harasser, the more likely they will be held accountable. It is safe to argue that the employer could be held accountable if the harasser works there. On the other hand, there is less chance that the employer will be held responsible if the harasser is a customer.

Even if there is unlawful workplace harassment, an employer can only be held accountable if they are considered at fault as defined by the law.

By showing that the employer knew about or should have known about the illegal workplace harassment and did nothing, it is possible to prove that the employer is at fault.


The law is far more favorable for victims if the harasser is a supervisor, though. In some instances, the employee only needs to establish that the harasser was a supervisor for the employer to be held strictly accountable for the supervisor's illegal actions.

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