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California Labor Law—Hostile Work Environment

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San Diego, CA: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. The statute also covers the overall working environment, and makes unlawful a hostile working environment, which is also a violation of California labor law.

California Labor Law—Hostile Work EnvironmentIn fact, California is one of the least-tolerant states regarding discrimination and hostile work environment, as evidenced by countless successful California labor lawsuits. Robin (not her real name) is hopeful that she will receive some compensation from her discrimination and hostile work environment claim: she has been discriminated against by her former employer, who has clearly violated the California labor code.

"I recently got a job in a furniture store, but right from the beginning, my employer constantly criticized me in front of the customers," says Robin, who is Italian. "She asked me why my skin color was as 'dark' as hers. 'Did I mind growing up with darker skin color,' and many other questions regarding my personal life and background. Because of her constant badgering, I faltered at my ability to learn; I was always afraid of making a mistake. She would belittle me in front of others with derogatory questions like, 'Can't you see, get your glasses,' or 'Why can't you remember anything,' which only seemed evident that she was insinuating I was old (I am 57 years of age, which she constantly reminded me of).

"It got to the point where I became physically ill and unable to focus. Finally I walked out, but she even ran after me and up to my car as I was pulling away. Now I do not have a job. And I have a severe case of shingles from stress. What can I do? I need to work, yet have not worked at this company long enough to claim unemployment."

A hostile work environment can impact an employee's ability to perform his or her work effectively, which has clearly happened to Robin. For instance, the atmosphere at work can be made hostile by racial slurs or inappropriate joking. Robin has filed a claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and her next step is to file a complaint with the EEOC and serve notice on her employer—the person against whom the complaint was made. She is hopeful that a labor law attorney will help her, and soon.

Title VII of the statute states that an employee who believes he or she has been unlawfully discriminated against must bring an action against the employer within 180 or 300 days of the date the claimed unlawful employment practice occurred.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by
John
on
I work in a small hotel. A co-worker has been rude to guests and other employees, at times telling us are stupid, ignorant and talks down to us. He periodically calls us on our days off to ask us questions about certain transactions and then calls us liars and the owner will fire them if he req uests it. When I first started I overlooked his attitude and just ignored him, but now, 6 months later he is getting worse. I haven't talked to my manager or the owner yet but I am thinking about it. Would this be considered a HOSTILE WORK environment? And If so what would my next step be?

Posted by
John kelley
on
well i just do not know where to start...i feel that me and another employee is being targeted . Let me say first i am a truck driver and been working for this company for over 30 years. At the first of the year they took away our senority and things just went down hill from there...The company started to zero in on certain people and they did fire a couple because of for unknowing reason...i feel that i have been the target now and i am afraid of losing my job now ... After 30 years years i only missed a few days of work due to illness..Certain management have been on my back and there are of lot of people that notice whats going on as you can see i am not a good letter writer...lol....sorry...any way other driver and i would like to talk to some one about this.... I do not really know how to or do not know what you want me to say except i like my job and i thing there are thing going on and everyone does not want to saying anything in fear of loosing thier job. i do have a few questions more to ask ...thank you for your time ...hope this helps...there are others..we bring something up at a safety meeting and we ask questions that next monday we are called in the office for why we brought that up and it look like you where up set...

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