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Hostile Work Environment Attorneys in San Diego
Are You a Protected Class Citizen Who Feels Unsafe?
Your place of employment may have plenty of hostility: a nasty boss, backstabbing co-workers, people whose personalities don’t mesh with yours.
When used in a legal sense, however, the term “hostile work environment” does not refer to any of these. It has a specific legal definition and applies only to hostility directed at a member of certain protected classes specified in by federal or state law: Not just any hostility, but hostility based on the worker’s membership in that class. If you feel unsafe at work, contact Haeggquist & Eck, LLP for legal help immediately.
Protected classes can be identified by the following in California:
- A person’s age
- Someone’s race or country of origin
- Religious affiliation or practices
- The color of a person’s skin
- Someone’s ancestry, real or perceived
- Disability status (mental or physical)
- Any medical conditions including pregnancies
- Marital status
- Gender or gender identity
- Sexual orientation
The law also forbids any retaliation for employees who have made discrimination claims and whistleblowers who have reported unlawful employer activities to authorities.
When a Hostile Work Environment Should Lead to a Discrimination Claim
Let’s say, for example, you are a person with a disability and therefore a member of a protected class. Your boss is a nasty bully who uses coarse language and is constantly yelling at everyone in the department, making working there extremely unpleasant for everyone. In this case the hostility is general, the entire department is suffering equally, and you are not protected.
If, however, the boss singles you out and treats you differently from the other workers, continually commenting about your disability to the point that it becomes nearly impossible for you to do your job, you may very well have a claim for a hostile work environment. The harassment must be serious and pervasive – not just an isolated or occasional off-the-cuff remark that gives offense.
In California, workers are protected from discrimination by federal and state laws, including the following:
- Equal Pay Act of 1963
- Title Vll of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
FEHA is generally more favorable to employees than the federal legislation, lacking the damage caps and hard-to-meet burdens of proof and employer defenses found in the federal laws, as well as allowing a longer period of time in which to file your charges with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
If you win a discrimination lawsuit based on a pervasively hostile work environment, you are entitled to recover various types of compensation, including lost earnings, emotional and psychological distress, and litigation expenses. You can even recover the cost it took to have a hostile work environment attorney in San Diego help you with your case.
In some cases, you can even recover punitive damages, which are intended to punish your employer and deter the behavior in the future.
Legal Assistance for Your Claim from Haeggquist & Eck, LLP
Haeggquist & Eck, LLP is a leader in enforcing our state’s enlightened anti-discrimination laws. We are proud of our record and our commitment to the working people of California to ensuring that the right to work for a living is protected as a fundamental human right shared equally by all Californians.
If you feel that you have suffered discrimination at work because of your inclusion in one of the protected classes listed above, contact a hostile work environment attorney in San Diego from Haeggquist & Eck, LLP to schedule a free case evaluation. We will help you file your complaint with the appropriate agency and once we receive a “right to sue” letter will institute a legal claim for damages against your employer.
Many legal disputes can be settled out of court, but we’re prepared to aggressively pursue your fair and just compensation should your fight lead to a trial.
Don’t suffer in silence. Call (619) 342-8000 Haeggquist & Eck, LLP today and protect your rights.
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