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.
In the office, the human resources department is your first line of defense when faced with employment discrimination, workplace bullying and harassment, and a slew of other work-related issues. But what if HR is the bully or refuses to help you? This makes for a difficult and sometimes awkward situation, but fortunately, you have options. Here are clear steps you should take if your human resources department is unhelpful or if it is part of the problem.
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.
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.
California has laws that protect employees from being sexually harassed in the workplace. Employees are protected from unwanted sexual advances, a hostile work environment, and from their employers using sexual favors as a condition of the benefit of employment. If you believe that you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, you need to take action immediately. What follows are the steps a California employee should take if he or she is subjected to sexual harassment at work.
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.
If you are in a situation where you are being harassed or discriminated against in the workplace, it is important to know that it is possible to sue your California employer while you are still employed. Do not think that quitting your job and getting justice are two mutually exclusive options — you can remain employed and file a lawsuit against your employer.
Many workers who have faced discrimination or harassment at work get to a point where they have had enough. They may have formally complained to management or human resources, but have gotten nowhere. As this can be frustrating, some employees opt to take things into their own hands and hire an employment law attorney to file a claim against their employer.
Facebook has been sued by two employees after not responding to their repeated complaints of workplace harassment at a company data center in North Carolina. CNET reports that the race discrimination lawsuit filed on November 22, 2016 in US District Court for the Northern District of California alleges that Facebook allowed retaliation against two black employees who reported discrimination “to fester and continue” despite the workers’ many complaints.
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?
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?