If you experienced inappropriate or unfair treatment in the workplace, you may feel both embarrassed or overwhelmed by your situation. While it may be difficult to do so, you have the right to speak up for yourself and hold the appropriate parties accountable for what you experienced. Workplace harassment is unacceptable, and you do not have to stand for it.
Victims of this type of mistreatment often feel unsure about whether or not what they experienced actually qualifies as harassment. If you feel unsure or you believe that you may be a victim, you may find it beneficial to seek an evaluation of your case. This can help you understand your legal options and what is next for you.
Types of harassing treatment
Harassment in the workplace violates the civil rights of the person, and it can happen for many reasons. Harassed workers often feel intimidated, ashamed and unsure of how they can make it stop. It is illegal for an employee or employer to treat others unfairly, aggressively or inappropriately on the basis of any of the following:
- Special needs
- National origin
Hostile work environments can develop when an employer acts inappropriately against an employee, but it can also happen when an employee acts in a harassing manner against a co-worker. Employers are accountable for their own actions, but also for the actions that they allow to happen in the workplace.
Small and petty grievances, snide remarks and other similar behavior does not necessarily qualify as harassment. However, unwanted physical contact, threats, verbal abuse, continual disparaging remarks and more can fall into the category of workplace harassment.
Your right to a harassment-free workplace
As a California employee, you have the right to work in an environment that is free from harassment and inappropriate treatment. If you do experience it, you have the right to take the legal steps necessary to hold liable parties accountable, which can include:
- Your employer
- Owner of the company
- Manager or supervisor
- Others who had the authority to intervene
You do not have to sit idly by and hope that harassment stops on its own. It is prudent to fight for your interests, which includes a peaceful and productive work environment, as well as compensation for the emotional harm you experienced. If you think you are a victim, it is smart to first seek a legal opinion regarding the most appropriate course of action.