Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

Los Angeles Attorneys Advocating for the Rights of Employees

When you go to work, you expect a professional environment in which your work will be judged on its merits, rather than your gender. Unfortunately, too many people face harassing comments, gestures, and acts from supervisors, managers, coworkers, or customers. Hostile work environment sexual harassment is prohibited in Los Angeles workplaces under federal and state laws. If you have been subject to a hostile work environment, you may have the right to recover damages. At the Nourmand Law Firm, our Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers may be able to counsel and represent you.

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

Both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibit hostile work environment sexual harassment. While FEHA prohibits a hostile work environment in workplaces with at least five employees, your employer must have at least 15 employees for Title VII to apply. However, in most cases, FEHA provides greater protection than Title VII.

To establish your entitlement to damages under FEHA, your attorney will need to prove that you were an employee, intern, or volunteer, you were subjected to unwanted harassing conduct because of your sex, the harassing actions were severe or pervasive, a reasonable person in your circumstances would have considered the workplace abusive or hostile, you considered the workplace abusive or hostile, the defendant participated in or helped with the harassing conduct, you were harmed, and the harassing conduct was a substantial factor in causing your harm.

A hostile work environment is created when the workplace is permeated by insults, ridicule, or discriminatory intimidation that is sufficiently pervasive or severe to change the conditions of a victim's employment. To be the basis of a lawsuit, the environment created by sexual harassment must be both objectively and subjectively offensive. You must personally perceive the environment to be hostile, and it must be such that a reasonable person would also find it hostile or abusive. There will not be a hostile work environment if a reasonable person in your situation would not share your perceptions. A one-off remark or trivial incidents are usually not enough to constitute a hostile work environment.

A hostile work environment can be created by a supervisor, manager, customer, client, or coworker of the victim. It is usually easier to hold your employer liable for hostile work environment harassment if the perpetrator of the harassing conduct was a supervisor. However, it can be possible to hold an employer liable for a hostile work environment if it knew or should have known about inappropriate sexual conduct by non-supervisorial coworkers, customers, or clients but did not immediately and appropriately act to correct the situation. You cannot hold your employer liable if it was unaware and had no reason to be aware of a hostile work environment, which makes it especially important to tell the harasser that the actions are unwelcome and to provide written notification of the conduct by the grievance procedure that is specified in your employment handbook.

Either a man or a woman can be the creator of a hostile work environment. Additionally, the sexual harassment alleged to constitute a hostile work environment can be directed toward someone of the same or the opposite sex. There is no legal requirement that the perpetrator of the harassment must have sexual desire for the victim. As a woman, for example, you could win a sexual harassment lawsuit by proving that the harassment was due to the defendant's bias against women. The critical issue is that sex be used as a weapon to create a hostile work environment.

Remedies available for a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim under FEHA can include back pay, reinstatement or front pay, compensatory damages for pain and suffering, and injunctive relief. If your employer acted with malice or reckless indifference to your rights in responding or not responding to the hostile work environment harassment, you may be able to obtain punitive damages.

Consult a Los Angeles Attorney for Your Sexual Harassment Claim

If you believe that you are a victim of hostile work environment sexual harassment, the Nourmand Law Firm may be able to represent you. Our lawyers offer aggressive legal representation to workers who have been harmed in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, Van Nuys, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, and other areas of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange Counties. Call us at 800-700-WAGE (9243) or contact us through our online form.

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