Did you know that 42 percent of workers in the United States have reported being victims of verbal abuse at work? If you are one of these employees who has suffered from verbal abuse, you may be able to file a workplace harassment complaint. But how do you know when you can sue your employer for verbal abuse? This article will help you understand how California law protects workers from verbal abuse in the workplace.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.