Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, employers are prohibited from exhibiting workplace harassment or inappropriate behavior that can be enough to create an abusive work atmosphere for the employees.
A hostile work environment may be based on sexual or gender-based harassment, but can include harassment based on race, religion, or disability. It is important to note that the harassment can be committed by non-supervisors as well as supervisors. A hostile work environment claim can be made when workplace bullying advances to harassment. The harassment must be pervasive or severe; therefore, behavior that is occasional, isolated, or trivial does not qualify as hostile work environment harassment.
The Difference Between Hostile Work Environment and Discrimination
Both harassment and discrimination in the workplace are prohibited under state and federal laws. Even though they seem quite similar there is a difference in legal remedies associated with each category.
A hostile work environment harassment happens when an employee in the workplace mistreats another employee based on their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability in a way that is outside the job description of the person that is exhibiting harassment.
In contrast, employment discrimination occurs when an employer or supervisor treats different employees differently on the basis of prohibited categories while performing acts that ARE part of the job description of the person committing discrimination.
For instance, if a supervisor regularly directed sexist, abusive comments toward female employees, that would be hostile work environment harassment. However, if a supervisor tended to give promotions and raises only to men, that would be employment discrimination.
Let Victory Law Group, LLP Find You an Employment Attorney Today
Each situation is different and requires individual analysis. That is why it is best to reach out to an employment attorney that can help analyze the situation, identify legal remedies, and create a claim against the employer. Here at Victory Law Group, LLP, we have employment attorneys on stand-by to help assist with your specific situation.