Written by: John Dalton
| Read Time: 3 minutes

The law protects you against harassment at work. But what is considered workplace harassment in California? In general, unlawful harassment is any unwelcome and offensive behavior based on an individual’s protected characteristics. 

While you have several options for asserting your rights against harassment and recovering damages from your workplace, the process can be tricky. You should speak to a skilled attorney immediately after enduring any type of harassment from a coworker, supervisor, or guest of your employer. An experienced attorney can ensure that your case is handled fairly and that you receive every legal remedy you deserve. And no California employment attorney is better at protecting workers’ rights than John Dalton. John Dalton has obtained some of the largest verdicts in the nation and state for mistreated employees, and the Law Offices of John Dalton are ready to help you with any employment dispute you face.  If you even think you are the victim of harassment in your workplace, please call us right away.

What Constitutes Workplace Harassment? 

State and federal laws define harassment as unwelcome conduct that is based on one of the following protected characteristics: 

  • Age (40 or older),
  • Color,
  • Religion, 
  • Race,
  • National origin,
  • Genetics,
  • Sex, 
  • Medical condition,
  • Gender,
  • Military status, 
  • Disability, 
  • Veteran status, 
  • Ancestry, or 
  • Creed. 

You do not have to be the target of harassing behavior to have a valid claim against it. Harassment can affect everyone in the workplace who witnesses it. Harassment also takes two forms: quid pro quo harassment or hostile work environment harassment. 

Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Quid pro quo harassment occurs when your employer demands that you accept harassing behavior in exchange for work benefits, or even just to keep your job. One of the common ways this comes up is in cases of sexual harassment. For example, a supervisor has committed quid pro quo harassment if they punish an employee or threaten to punish an employee for any of the following: 

  • Declining a request for a date;
  • Refusing to perform sexual favors;
  • Asking the supervisor to stop displaying offensive, sex-based content;
  • Reporting non-consensual touching; or 
  • Asking the supervisor to stop making offensive, sex-based comments.

An employer can also be liable for quid pro quo harassment if it conditions an employee’s professional advancement on accepting unwanted sex-based behavior. A boss who tries to coerce you into unwanted, sex-based activity by offering you a promotion or pay increase has committed unlawful harassment. Quid pro quo harassment can also be present when a work environment is “sexualized” meaning that workers that accept the harassment or do not complain about it receive better treatment.

Hostile Work Environment Harassment

Unwanted, discriminatory conduct is also illegal harassment when it is severe or pervasive that it affects your work environment to the point of creating a hostile environment. If the following type of behavior at work is based on a protected characteristic, it is likely illegal: 

  • Joking;
  • Stereotyping comments; 
  • Insults;
  • Comments about someone else’s physical appearance;
  • Asking for dates;
  • Non-consensual touching; 
  • Any sex-based comments or statements;
  • Invading the personal space of others; 
  • Having sexually explicit conversations;
  • Staring; 
  • Excluding others from work opportunities; 
  • Using slurs, including gender, racial, age, sexual orientation, or religious based slurs;
  • Displaying offensive material; or
  • Making repeated, unwanted requests for dates; 

If any of these things are occurring in your workplace, please contact us immediately.

How to Prove Workplace Harassment in California

Before taking any action against your harasser or employer, please contact us right away. . We will help pursue the evidence you need to prove you have been victimized by illegal harassment. 

Proof of the harassment can include the following: 

  • Witness testimony, 
  • Correspondence,
  • Employment agreements,
  • Healthcare records,
  • Personnel records, 
  • Pictures, 
  • Wage records, 
  • Employment records, and
  • Copies of prior complaints.

Our help can be crucial to obtaining thel evidence necessary for a successful case.  Therefore, it is important to contact us right away.

Filing a Claim Against Harassment at Work

You can handle your harassment claim through a private settlement, an administrative complaint, or a civil lawsuit. But your first move in addressing workplace harassment should be to contact us. We will help you navigate any internal complaint procedure as well as any complaints that must be filed with a government agency. 

Contact the Law Offices of John Dalton Today

John Dalton is a highly experienced and passionate employment attorney who can protect you from the wrongful behavior of others in your workplace. John has been in practice for over 26 years, and he has set records with the damages he has recovered for his clients. Please call the Law Offices of John Dalton if you need a good advocate. You can reach us online as well!

    “I highly respect John and his dedication and integrity. You will not be disappointed.” John Dalton went to work for me and delivered great results. I wasn’t sure what to do and when I found John, he explained everything nicely and he was able to get me the settlement I truly deserved. He was easy to work with and I always felt like I was kept in the loop - it was really fantastic service all around. - Steve K.
    • Contact Us for a Consultation Schedule your free consultation.