Employees and employers in the Bay Area need to know that harassment is a form of employment discrimination that may violate numerous federal and California state laws. Both federal and state laws provide employees with protections against discrimination in the workplace—including harassment—and have specific routes through which complaints must be filed. Generally speaking, California law protects more classes of persons against discrimination than does federal law. For example, California law expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of “gender, gender identity, gender expression” and “sexual orientation.” As such, depending upon the specific facts of an employee’s case, it could make more sense to file a claim under state law.
If you need help filing a harassment claim or need assistance with a harassment claim at your place of employment, an experienced Bay Area harassment lawyer can help.
Harassment generally is prohibited by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (DFEH). California law recognizes two different types of harassment that can occur in the workplace:
Harassment can result from the harmful behavior of almost anyone in and around the workplace, including:
The harasser does not have to be an employee of the workplace in order to be responsible for creating a hostile work environment. The employer has a duty to take preventive measures as well as to take action to stop harassment when it does occur.
Federal laws also prohibit harassment in the workplace. Similar to California law, federal law identifies harassment as a form of discrimination and recognizes both “quid pro quo” harassment and “hostile work environment” harassment. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassment is considered any unwelcome actions that are based specifically on race, age (40 or older). disability, sex (including pregnancy), color, religion, national origin, or genetic information.
Examples of federal laws that protect employees from these forms of harassment include the following:
Do you have questions or concerns about harassment in the workplace? Whether you are dealing with a sexual harassment case or a situation involving harassment based on age, disability, race, or national origin, an experienced San Francisco Bay Area harassment attorney at our firm can assist you. Contact Minnis & Smallets LLP to speak with an advocate today.