Harassment is cruel behavior from a boss, a coworker, or even someone who doesn’t work for the same business. Businesses have an obligation to prevent unlawful harassment.

Harassment is when the social environment of the workplace becomes intolerable because the harassing behavior (whether verbal, physical, or visual) communicates an offensive message to the harassed employee. Harassment includes racial slurs, insults or put-downs of any kind, ostracism/shunning, spreading nasty rumors, hitting someone or threatening to hit them, showing offensive pictures, and other unnecessary, cruel actions. Retaliating against a person for complaining about harassment is also illegal.

When certain types of characteristics, known as “protected categories” are the basis for harassment that is severe or pervasive, that can also violate the law. Protected categories for most California employees include the following:

  • race / color
  • national origin / ancestry
  • religious creed
  • marital status
  • sex / gender
  • sexual harassment
  • gender expression
  • gender identity
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • physical / mental disability
  • medical condition
  • genetic information
  • military and veteran status

If you are concerned that you have been the victim of harassment in employment, I recommend that you talk to an experienced employment lawyer today for a free consultation.

Return to Employment Law