Do you work in a hostile work environment? Do you feel trapped in your current hostile job, without any solution to the situation? Fortunately, if you or a loved one have experienced a hostile work environment, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer for creating and facilitating a hostile work environment. However, it is important to note that filing a lawsuit against your employer can be incredibly complicated, and difficult to navigate alone. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you seek legal representation from an attorney that is well versed on the rights of workers in the state of California. At California Employment Attorneys Group our experienced hostile work environment attorneys are committed to ensuring that our clients receive all the resources they need to find the settlement that they 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 skilled legal advisers.
What Is A Hostile Work Environment?
A hostile work environment can carry a lot of different characteristics. Often hostile work environments involve shouting, name-calling, poor treatment, and intimidation. However, a hostile work environment can occur whenever an employee feels consistently harassed by a co-worker, manager, or employer. Hostile work environments can put a tremendous amount of emotional and mental stress on an individual. In most hostile work environment cases, victims feel pressured to either quit their job, spoiling any chances of receiving an unemployment stipend or continuing to endure the poor treatment from their employer. More often than not this creates a day-to-day environment that can drastically wear on a person.
While it may seem as though there is no way of escape, there are many avenues of solution that you can take to resolve this issue. Usually, companies have a human resource, or HR departments to handle complaints and disputes between a company’s workers. It is the HR representative’s job to advocate for that worker and to ensure the complaint is resolved without having to take the issue into a courtroom. Often, an HR department will resolve a hostile work environment, by reassigning a harassed worker to another location, or by reprimanding the individual causing the hostile work environment. Unfortunately, though, this is not always the case, as HR departments have been known to be ineffective in some situations. Regardless, your company’s HR department should be your first line of solution before seeking out the assistance of an attorney to help you file a lawsuit.
Many of our clients with hostile work environment cases are often left in the dark in regards to whether or not they can sue their boss for creating a hostile work environment. These clients are usually surprised to find out that the answer is far more complex than they first thought, and may realize the importance of patience and persistence when filing their claim against an employer.
Can I File A Lawsuit Against My Job For Creating A Hostile Work Environment?
When clients come into our law firm seeking legal representation or guidance for their hostile work environment case they often ask whether or not they can sue their employer for creating a hostile work environment. The short answer to this question is always, yes. However some stipulations keep one from instantly doing so.
To sue your employer for creating a hostile work environment, you must be able to show that their actions and behavior somehow violated the state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination is defined as the unfavorable treatment of another individual based on their race, skin color, religious background, cultural background, sexual orientation, or personal characteristics. So, if you experienced a hostile work environment, but did not experience any form of discrimination, you may not be able to bring a lawsuit forward to court. However, as mentioned before, you may be able to seek resolution for your issue through consulting with your company’s HR department. Often, HR representatives want to settle a case out of court, as the legal fees, and potential damage to a public image can make fighting a case disastrous for them. Regardless if discrimination is evident in your case or not, it is always in your best interest that you seek the guidance of a hostile work environment attorney as they can help you better negotiate with your HR representative and can help you earn the settlement you deserve for your damages.
When filing a hostile work environment lawsuit against your employer on the basis of discrimination, you must be, able to prove that the following was 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.
Determining whether or not your employer discriminated against you is just one part of the more significant legal process involved with filing a hostile work environment lawsuit. When filing one of these suits, it is crucial that you follow a set of specific steps to reach a successful and satisfying outcome. While you can follow these steps on your own, it is always recommended that you seek assistance from an attorney to guide you along the way. Any misstep in this process can result in the collapse of your case, and the continued mistreatment at your workplace. For your reference, we’ve included these crucial steps below:
- 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.
There is no guarantee that your case will make it to court. Often, a hostile work environment case is settled before it can even be filed with an anti-discrimination agency. That being said, having an attorney on your side to ensure that you can put up a fair fight can make all the difference in your case. Often, an employer may see that you’ve retained a lawyer and be more willing to reach a settlement that fits your needs out of fear of being taken to court for their actions. While everyone has a right to represent themselves in court, it is always in your best interest to go in with an experienced legal expert at your side.
About California Employment Attorneys Group
Hostile work environments can cause a significant amount of emotional and mental stress on an individual. If you or a loved one have experienced a hostile work environment either by your coworker, boss, or employer you may be eligible to file a claim for monetary compensation. This compensation can help cover things like a loss of wages, medical expenses, and a potential loss of future wages depending on your employment situation after the case is settled. When filing these cases, it is always in your best interest that you seek legal guidance from an attorney that is both experienced and committed to ensuring you receive the settlement you deserve for your damages. At California Employment Attorneys Group, our well-versed attorneys can guide you through every step of the way from filing a complaint with your company’s HR department to fighting for your claims in court. Our team of attorneys will ensure that you have the resources to earn the compensation you deserve. Victims of hostile work environments can contact our law offices to learn more about how to receive compensation for their injuries. While our law firm is based in Los Angeles, our attorneys also practice in Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Orange County, Riverside, Fresno, and throughout the state of California.
Free Second Opinions
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.
Zero Fee Guarantee-No Upfront Fees Ever
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.