Many of our firm’s clients tell us that they would have come to us sooner for an assessment of their case if they had only been more certain that what they were experiencing was harassment. Workplace harassment is never acceptable, and it is never the fault of the person targeted. It is also a violation of federal and California state law.
At Yoosefian Law Firm, P.C., we can discuss your current or recent work situation and help you understand your options for resolution. Our firm’s attorneys can also represent you in a lawsuit if that is the best way to see that justice is served.
Understanding The Two Primary Types Of Harassment Behaviors
There are two main categories of harassment recognized by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
- Quid pro quo harassment, in which the target is expected to endure harassing behavior in order to maintain their position with the company.
- Hostile workplace environment, in which the conduct is pervasive or severe enough that a reasonable person would consider it intimidating or abusive.
Many types of sexual harassment are considered quid pro quo, especially if the harasser and the target have a supervisor-employee relationship. Hostile workplace actions are less dependent upon a power-over relationship between the harasser and his or her target.
Actions That Qualify As Harassment
On a legal level, to qualify as harassment, the behavior must target a particular characteristic of the person being victimized that is protected by state or federal law. In California, these characteristics can include an employee’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), marital status, family status, sexual orientation, disability/medical condition or genetic information.
Some examples of harassing behaviors include:
- Your boss downgrading your work and repeatedly blaming it on your ethnic heritage
- Receiving multiple unwanted phone calls, emails or texts from a co-worker asking you out on a date
- A supervisor tying a favorable performance review to your willingness to perform sexual favors for him/her
- Co-workers engaging in lewd or openly discriminatory talk in front of you
- A contractor or company employee commenting on your physical attributes