In California, a hostile work environment usually means that sexual harassment is present at the work place and is distracting to the victim’s day-to-day work activities. Sexual harassment may come in the form of touching, sexual jokes, inappropriate comments, and asking for sexual favors.
When a hostile workplace lawsuit is filed, the courts may consider the following factors:
- Is the harassment based on a protected characteristic such as age, gender or race?
- Frequency of the harassment
- Severity of the harassment in the workplace.
- Whether the harassment distracted the victim from their work activities.
- Were there witnesses to the harassment?
- Were the incidents of harassment reported to management and how did the employer respond.
Remember unpleasant work environments or unfavorable job responsibilities do not rise to a hostile work environment. Most employment in California, if not under contract, is employment-at-will which means your employer can fire you for no reason. But if you think you have been subject to an unwelcome sexual harassment then you may wish to file a hostile workplace lawsuit.
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Penelope E. Garcia
Carl J. Rohling Esq