It’s an unfortunate reality that many employees face verbal harassment and abuse in their workplace. Employment should be where you complete your work, and it should not be a place where you have to suffer hostile actions or harassment. All California employees deserve safe workplaces.
In some situations, verbal harassment allows you to file a claim against your employer for verbal abuse, discrimination, or workplace violence. This can help you get compensation to cover financial and sometimes emotional damages you suffered. A San Diego workplace harassment attorney can determine your legal options for a claim and assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve.
At The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney, III, we spend the necessary time to understand your unique workplace situation and the harassment and abuse you are facing. Our attorneys have worked to defend employee rights for 40 years. We tailor our legal representation to your specific situation and provide flexible legal care based on your needs.
Workplace harassment and abuse can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming for any person, and it’s essential that you get the legal support you deserve. We have experience fighting and succeeding against large corporations who have failed to protect employee rights. Our attorneys are proud to fight for your rights and provide you with a strong defense.
Every person should have the right to a workplace that is safe from rude verbal harassment. As of 2021, 30% of employees in the U.S. have experienced workplace bullying in the past or currently. Verbal abuse and bullying can include threats, yelling, insults, or name-calling.
Unfortunately, verbal bullying is not automatically illegal in San Diego, California or under federal law. When an employee suffers one such action, it’s unlikely that it will be considered illegal. However, if these actions become frequent, then it may constitute a hostile work environment claim. Workplace bullying can be defined as repeated mistreatment of employees, which can be:
If verbal abuse and bullying include slurs or innuendos, it may constitute workplace discrimination or sexual harassment. You may be able to file a claim against your employer when the verbal abuse constitutes a hostile work environment or is considered an act of workplace discrimination.
A hostile work environment and workplace harassment are both forms of workplace discrimination. California and federal law list several protected classes that cannot be discriminated against based on these characteristics. These protected characteristics include:
A hostile work environment must be behavior based on discrimination to be illegal under state and federal employment law.
Workplace harassment is always based on discriminatory biases and takes one of the following forms:
Under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) definition of a hostile work environment, the harassment must be either pervasive and repeated or be one severe event of harassment. To determine if workplace harassment constitutes a hostile environment, the court will review the following factors:
Harassment claims for a hostile work environment can be filed with the EEOC federal agency or with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD). These claims can be filed against employees who are engaging in harassing conduct. Claims can also be filed against employers who are harassing employees or who are failing to handle complaints of harassment appropriately and in a reasonably timely manner.
Unfortunately, not all verbal abuse will enable you to file a claim against a co-worker or employer. An employment attorney can review the facts of your case to help determine whether you have a hostile work environment claim for the abusive actions against you. If the verbal bullying you are receiving is not specifically protected under employment law, there may be other legal options.
Filing a harassment claim can be a stressful process, on top of the stress that a hostile work environment is likely creating. An attorney can walk you through this process and help you structure your claim to be more effective. An attorney has resources for essential evidence and can advise you on gaining further evidence of workplace harassment — they can help you make your claim more successful and less likely to be dismissed. They can also determine if others have suffered similar harassment from your employer or co-worker.
There are state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on protected characteristics, including discrimination in the workplace:
These laws are enforced by the EEOC and the CRD. California laws cover some protected characteristics that federal laws do not.
In California, there is a two-party consent law. This means that in most situations, both parties must give consent to a recording of a private conversation for it to be legal. However, there are situations where self-recording is permissible by the EEOC, which is not the same as surveillance recording. Violations of two-party consent laws are a misdemeanor, so it’s important to always discuss your situation with an employment attorney.
Yelling in the workplace does not automatically constitute workplace harassment under California employment law. However, yelling in the workplace may be considered hostile work environment harassment if it is severe, pervasive, and repeated. It must also be conducted revolving around or because of an employee’s protected trait. This includes race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or age. These characteristics and others are protected under state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
Abusive conduct is defined under Assembly Bill 2053 as behavior conducted in the workplace with malice and is unrelated to good faith business interests. It is also behavior that a reasonable person would consider to be offensive or hostile. Abusive conduct can be done by employers and employees. This behavior may include intimidation, discrimination, sabotage, bullying, or general threats.
Workplace harassment comes in two forms:
Workplace harassment in a hostile work environment depends on actions that are motivated by discrimination. This may include a discriminatory bias based on gender, sex, race, religion, or other protected characteristics.
No California employee should have to face discriminatory behavior and harassment. At The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney, III, we work hard to protect employee rights from workplace harassment, hostile work environments, wrongful termination, and retaliation. If you’re unsure whether the verbal abuse you face at work constitutes a workplace harassment claim, contact our team. We will take the time to understand the situation you’re facing. If you have a hostile work environment claim, we want to help you get the compensation you deserve.