Hostile work environments can be incredibly devastating for workers as they are often left feeling pressured to either quit their job or endure further mistreatment. A hostile work environment can be caused by regular day-to-day harassment, verbal abuse, and even physical abuse in certain situations. Fortunately, victims of hostile work environments may be able to sue their employer, boss, or company for the damages the hostile environment caused. However, when many attempts to file these lawsuits they are often unaware of the statute of limitations and how they affect their case. With the help of our worker’s rights attorneys at California Employment Attorneys Group, we can help you not only understand the statute of limitations but are committed to ensuring that you receive all of the resources you desire to reach the settlement you deserve. If you have any questions after reading this article, please feel free to reach out to our law offices near Los Angeles, California for a free consultation from one of our many well-versed legal advisors.
Hostile Work Environments & How You Can Sue for Them
A hostile work environment is essentially a work environment that is made hostile by continued harassment or abuse from a boss, manager, or coworker. Often victims of hostile work environments are unaware of their legal rights as workers. As a result, those who experience repeated hostility at work are forced to either quit or continue working in such a poor environment. Hostile work environments can cause significant emotional distress and can hinder a worker’s ability to fulfill the requirements of their job. Unfortunately, victims of hostile work environments cannot sue their employer for the hostile work environment outright. There currently is no state or federal law that prohibits employers from treating their workers poorly. As a result, many of those who work in hostile work environments have to rely on resolving their workplace hostility issue through the assistance of a company’s HR or Human Resources department. HR departments are put in place to resolve issues between workers, and employers before they can reach a courtroom.
However, if you are experiencing a hostile work environment because you believe your employer is discriminating against you, you may be able to sue your employer. There are strict federal and state laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against their workers if an employer breaks these laws, they are subject to the legal consequences. Discrimination is defined as the unfavorable treatment of another individual which is based on their race, skin color, cultural background, religious background, sexual orientation, age or disability. To file a hostile work environment lawsuit for discrimination, you must be able to prove that the following is evident in your case:
- The actions of your employer must show, in some way, that they are discriminating against you based on your religion, disability, race, color, or age.
- Your employer’s behavior and actions must last for an extended period. As such you cannot sue your employer for one off-handed comment. Any and all incidents where your employer abused you and bullied you should be recorded and filed with your company’s HR department.
- If your company does nothing or little to nothing to remedy the issue after repeated reports of harassment, you can move forward with legal action against your employer.
- The actions of your employer must be severe and consistent enough to disrupt your ability to fulfill the requirements of the job, by hindering your day-to-day work.
If you find evidence of discrimination in your case, you may be able to sue your employer for their actions and behavior. However, the process of doing so can be somewhat complicated. One of the more complicated aspects of filing a hostile work environment lawsuit is the statute of limitations, and how they influence a hostile work environments case. Fortunately, with the help of a skilled attorney, you can better follow the statute of limitations, and ensure the best outcome for your case.
California Statute of Limitations For Hostile Work Environments Case
The statute of limitations for any case is the period in which a victim has to file a lawsuit against the defendant. The statute of limitations can vary dramatically from state to state and can change depending on the aspects of your case. If you fail to follow the statute of limitations you could find your case dismissed from court entirely. For this reason, it is in your best interest to seek an attorney that is well versed on the time limit in California to file a lawsuit against your employer for a hostile work environment.
As mentioned previously, the process of filing a lawsuit against your employer for creating and facilitating a hostile work environment can be incredibly complicated. There are a large number of steps involved in taking your case from filing a report with your HR department to receiving a substantial settlement from your employer. If you reach out to our law offices, our attorneys will recommend you follow the steps listed below to ensure a positive outcome for your case better:
- Contact an HR Representative: The first thing you should do is report every incident of abuse to your company’s Human Resources department. These departments are put in place to fight for the rights of their employees and resolve issues of this nature. Often, cases will be resolved at this point as a result of the actions of an HR representative. By reporting your incidents, you not only document the harassment, but you can also show a jury that you exhausted all options of solution before relying on legal action.
- Collect any and all Evidence: If your HR department fails to remedy the issue, you may need to file a report with either a state or federal anti-discrimination agency. Before you do so, you should gather any and all evidence you need to support your claims. This evidence can include things like photographs, video footage, or audio recordings of incidents of harassment; text messages, phone calls, emails, or other points of contact shared between you and your employer or; eyewitness testimonies from co-workers, customers, or even family members that back up your claims. At this point, you should consult a workplace bullying and abuse attorney in Modesto if you haven’t already.
- File a Report With an Anti-Discrimination Agency: Before you can file a lawsuit against your employer, you must file a report with either the federally run Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a state-run agency. These agencies will review your case, and either give you the approval to sue or reject your right to sue an employer. During this period, it is highly recommended that you keep a low-profile at work as you do not want to give your employer any evidence to later dispute your claims in court.
- Move to Court or Resolve: If the anti-discrimination agency approved your case, you and your attorney would receive a ‘right-to-sue,’ letter, giving you the go-ahead to take your case to court. However, at this point, many cases settle as companies would rather settle a case than expend the exuberant legal fees to fight the case in court. It is up to you whether you want to take your case to court or not, and before making a choice, it is highly recommended that you reach out to your Spanish speaking lawyer for advice on the best course of action.
The deadline to sue in California for hostile work environments claims can depend on the route you take to resolve your case. For example, if your hostile work environment claim starts and ends with an HR department, you will likely not have to ever encounter the statute of limitations for a hostile work environment. However, if you end up bringing your case t court, your case could have to adhere to one of two different statutes of limitations.
When you file a lawsuit against your employer for discrimination, you must first obtain a ‘right-to-sue’ letter from either the federally run Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or a smaller state-run anti-discrimination agency. How much time you have to file a lawsuit against your employer can change depending on which agency you decided to file a report with. If you filed a claim with a state-run agency, you have 300 days from the receipt of the ‘right-to-sue’ letter to bring your case to court. If you file a claim with the EEOC, you have 180 days from the day you receive the ‘right-to-sue’ letter. There are also some exceptions to the statute of limitations that you may want to take into account before bringing your case to court. Listed below are some of the common exceptions to the statute of limitations:
- The Defendant was out of State for a period: If a defendant was absent from the state, the statute of limitations pauses until the defendant returns.
- The plaintiff is a minor: If the injured party is a minor, meaning below the age of 18, the statute of limitations does not run until the said minor turns 18.
- Mental incompetence of the plaintiff: If a plaintiff is judged as mentally incompetent during their injuries or the actions of the defendant, then the statute of limitations are paused throughout this incompetence.
- Death of the plaintiff: If a plaintiff dies before the statute of limitations runs its course, then a lawsuit can still be filed in the statute of limitations period. However, if six or fewer months remaining on the statute of limitations at the time of the plaintiff’s death, then the suit must be filed within six months of the plaintiff’s death.
- Plaintiff’s prison sentence: If a plaintiff is imprisoned, California law dictates that the statute of limitations is tolled until the plaintiff is released, or for two years whichever comes first.
- Plaintiff’s Military Service: If a plaintiff is serving in the military the statute of limitations is automatically tolled for the entire duration of the plaintiff’s service.
Regardless of what route you decide to take in filing a lawsuit against your employer for creating or facilitating a hostile work environment, it is always in your best interest that you seek legal guidance from an attorney well versed in the subject of workers’ rights. Having the right attorney by your side can make all the difference in the eventual outcome of your case.
How California Employment Attorneys Group Can Help
If you or a loved one has experienced a hostile work environment caused by discrimination you may be eligible to file a claim for monetary compensation. Victims of hostile work environments often feel trapped, and as such may be unaware of their options of resolution. With the help of a law firm experienced in fighting workplace discrimination cases, victims can receive the positive resolution that they hoped for. If you or a loved one has experienced hostility or discrimination at work, and are unaware of how the statute of limitations influence your case our attorneys at California Employment Attorneys Group can help you. Our well-versed workplace discrimination attorneys can guide you every step of the way from filing a report with the right anti-discrimination agency and follow the statute of limitations. Victims of hostile work environments can contact our law offices to learn more about how we can assist. While our law firm is based in Los Angeles, our attorneys also practice in Tulare County, Visalia, Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Pomona, Fontana, Orange County, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Irvine, San Diego, and throughout the state of California.
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Other attorneys will sign you up for their firm but will disappear once your name is on the paper as they are busy signing up more cases. In these instances, their business is based more on volume and will attempt to sign up as many cases as possible. In turn, they will spend less time on cases resulting in severely reduced settlements. Our firm will not treat you like a number. We will be in communication with you throughout our lawsuit and will treat you like family. So if you already have an attorney don’t worry, we’ll give you a second review of your case 100% free of charge.
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If you contact our law offices today, we can walk you through the complicated process of filing your claim completely free of charge. As a show this commitment to you and your case we offer our clients the benefits of a zero fee guarantee policy. Under our zero fee policy, all clients don’t pay for our services until their case is won. If you feel in need of a second opinion, second opinion case reviews are also free under this policy. Please, feel free to give us a call, and we can guide you down the path of receiving proper compensation for your damages.