Blog : Workplace Harassment

DFEH Issues New California Workplace Harassment Guide

New DFEH Workplace Harassment Guide for California Employers

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) recently issued a workplace harassment guide for California employers. The new guide which was developed in conjunction with the California Sexual Harassment Task Force, provides employers with best practices on preventing and addressing harassment in the workplace.

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5 Simple Rules for Hugging at Work

Hugging in the Workplace: Is it Okay to Hug a Coworker?The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that hugging at work can create a hostile work environment if the hugging is unwelcome and pervasive. Yolo County Sheriff Edward G. Prieto was charged with inappropriately hugging a female correctional officer over 100 times within a 12-year period. At one point Prieto hugged the correctional officer to congratulate her on her marriage. To some people, this behavior may seem harmless and friendly, but the correctional officer thought Prieto’s hugs were inappropriate and, ultimately, the court agreed.

So, does this mean that if you hug a longtime coworker in a congratulatory way, he or she will file a sexual harassment complaint against you? Not usually. But hugging in a professional environment can certainly cause confusion. While some coworkers may welcome hugs, others do not want to be touched — even if you have the best of intentions. But when is hugging at work okay? These guidelines for hugging in the workplace can help you decide when it may be an appropriate time to hug a colleague, and when you should probably just opt for the standard handshake.

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Workplace Bullying: 4 Harmful Effects on Employees

How Workplace Bullying Effects Employees

Tens of millions of American workers have been targets of bullying in the workplace – and their health is deteriorating because of it. The effects of workplace bullying brought on by either a bad boss or coworker typically do not end if you leave your job, either. Studies have shown that if you face ongoing bullying and harassment, you will likely suffer from physical and psychological health issues after you leave a hostile work environment. Here are just some of the long-term effects that can result from workplace bullying.

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Can You Sue Your Boss for Being a Bully?

Can You Sue Your Boss for Working Bullying?If your boss is making your work environment hostile by directing belittling comments at you, shouting, teasing or causing physical harm to you or other employees, you may wonder what you can do about it. While some people think that they can sue their boss for being a bully, the fact of the matter is that bullying itself is not prohibited by federal or California law. However, there are certain instances where workplace bullying can result in legal protection for employees.

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10 Common Signs of a Hostile Work Environment – Infographic

Hostile working conditions can result in a workplace harassment claim against an employer if the negative conduct is motivated by an employee’s protected characteristics as defined under employment laws including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), among others.

An employee may be subjected to workplace bullying or an unlawful hostile work environment if the employee experiences intolerable working conditions due to offensive, oppressive or intimidating conduct by a supervisor or other employees. This is especially true if the environment interferes with any worker’s ability to perform his or her job. But how do you know if your work environment is actually hostile?

Our latest hostile work environment infographic shares common signs that your work environment may be toxic enough for you to file a workplace harassment claim.

Signs of a Hostile Work Environment InfographicClick here to download and share this free infographic. 
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How to Talk to HR About Workplace Harassment

How to Talk to HR About Workplace Harassment
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Both California and Federal employment laws offer employees a slew of protections, plus require HR departments to adhere to certain guidelines. Over the past seven-plus years, President Obama has done what all prior presidents have done, and what all future presidents will do: He has appointed people to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other agencies that share his vision. These appointments have a trickle-down effect, because the leaders hire people who share their vision as well: to protect employees from illegal workplace harassment.

However, before aggrieved California employees go to the EEOC or DFEH to file employment discrimination or harassment claims, they often first speak to internal human resources managers in order to resolve disputes in a more low-key manner. But what are the proper ways to talk to HR about harassment at work?

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Can You Sue Your Employer for Workplace Stress?

Can You Sue Your Employer for Workplace Stress?
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Many people have challenging jobs and feel certain pressures due to work. However, if that pressure increases to the point that you are suffering from physical or emotional ailments such as anxiety, depression, alcoholism or other adverse reactions, then you are likely being subjected to much more than just typical job-related challenges.

Excessive workplace stress can become a serious threat to your health. According to recent research by Harvard and Stanford Business Schools, problems stemming from workplace stress such as hypertension, decreased mental health and cardiovascular disease can kill about 120,000 people each year.

No one should be subjected to a work environment that needlessly causes their health to decline. But can you actually sue your employer for workplace stress? This article will help you understand the causes of job-related stress and how your employee rights may be protected under California and federal employment laws.

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Hostile Work Environment: Examples and What to Do About It

Hostile Work Environment Examples and What to Do
Photo Credit: Kompania Piwowarska via Compfight cc

There are various issues that can arise in the workplace regarding harassment and discrimination. One of these issues is when an employer or coworker engages in behaviors that cause hostile working conditions.

Before you try to file a hostile work environment claim, you should know that this type of harassment is generally illegal only if the reason for the negative behavior is based on a protected characteristic such as race, age, gender, national origin, religion or disability.

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What Constitutes Workplace Bullying?

Workplace Bullying Definition
Photo Credit: Kompania Piwowarska via Compfight cc

As adults, we are familiar with bullying that happened at school while growing up, and now online bullying that today’s children and teens often face. But it may surprise you that bullying can occur in the workplace, as well.

Not only is workplace bullying disruptive to workflow, but it can cause unfair abuse to workers, plus create a hostile work environment that may lead to harassment claims against an employer.

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Workplace Bullying: Online Anti-Bullying Resources for Employees

Workplace Bullying Resources for EmployeesOne in four employees is affected by workplace bullying, and many suffer from this type of harassment in silence. While bullying itself is not yet against the law, anti-bullying legislative measures are being taken into consideration all across the country. Plus, anti-bullying organizations and online resources are available to those who don’t know how to deal with workplace bullying on their own.

The following online workplace bullying resources will help you understand the signs that constitute bullying, provide links to anti-bullying books for further reading, and even resources for your employer to help them promote a psychologically healthy workplace.

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