Los Angeles Harassment Attorney
Protecting the Rights of California Employees
In California, it is illegal for an employee to be harassed or discriminated against because of their race, religion, color, national origin, disability, sex, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military/veteran status. No employee should ever be harassed at work.
Malatesta Law is dedicated solely to protecting the rights of California employees. Because Malatesta Law exclusively practices employment law, Malatesta Law has developed an in-depth understanding of unlawful harassment in the workplace and can obtain the damages an employee deserves for being subjected to illegal conduct at work.
Schedule a free consultation with Los Angeles harassment attorney Andrew J. Malatesta at (424) 284-1384 today.
What is Harassment in the Workplace?
Unlawful harassment can occur in many different ways in the workplace. Every employee deserves to work in a harassment-free environment.
Types of harassment include harassment based on:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
Unlawful harassment can take on many different forms including being subjected to insults, jokes, slurs, demeaning conduct, and/or offensive behaviors.
Sexual harassment occurs when an employee's employment and/or job benefits are conditioned upon his or her engagement in sexual behavior. This type of harassment may be stated or implied through words, gestures, or actions. Sexual harassment can take on many different forms and includes unwanted touching, sexual advances, inappropriate sexual questioning, offensive sexual discussions, sexual innuendos, or sexually suggestive comments.
Examples of disability harassment include:
- A female employee suffering from a hip disorder informs her supervisor that she will be undergoing hip replacement surgery causing her to miss two months of work to recuperate. The supervisor tells her that she should not take so much time off because "it will not look good in your file." When the employee returns to work using a cane, she is insulted and mocked by her co-workers who call her a "hop-along." The supervisor tells her she walks "like an old person" and that she is not allowed to use a cane in front of customers.
- A man suffering from depression returns to work following a medical leave of absence to receive treatment. His manager, who knows about the treatment, welcomes him back to work with a smile while telling him that he hopes he enjoyed his "vacation." The employee's co-workers regularly make jokes about the employee's depression and ask him each day if he "took [his] meds." The employee's manager constantly tells the employee to stop looking "sad" and that he looks "pathetic."
Examples of race harassment include:
- An African American employee is called "boy" by his white supervisor. The employee's colleagues repeatedly make offensive jokes about African Americans and use racial slurs when talking about black people. A fake advertisement for a KKK gathering is taped to the employee's locker.
- An Asian employee is repeatedly told by her co-workers to "open [her] eyes" and is called a dumb "gook." The employee's supervisor hears these comments and laughs. The employee's colleagues, including her supervisor, ridicule her for using chopsticks and repeatedly try to break her chopsticks while she is eating her lunch.
- An American Indian employee is called a "Redskin" by the company's owner and is asked to do the "rain dance." The company's owner subsequently tells the employee that he wants to play "Cowboys and Indians" with him. A picture of the employee's face with superimposed "war paint" is emailed to the entire company.
National Origin Harassment
Examples of national origin harassment include:
- A Mexican employee is called a "wetback" by his supervisor. The employee's supervisor tells the employee that he is working too slowly and that he is just another "lazy Mexican." Instead of calling the employee by his name, the employee's manager calls him a different Mexican name each day, such as Juan, Jorge, Paco, or Jesus.
- A Chinese employee is called "Chinawoman" by the company's owner. When the employee speaks on her cell phone in Chinese during her breaks, her manager tells her not to speak that "gibberish" in the break room. When the employee makes a mistake, her manager reprimands her and tells her that maybe she should go work with her "people" at a Chinese laundry.
Examples of sexual harassment include:
- A female nurse regularly works with the same doctor during her shifts. The doctor has asked her for dates but she has repeatedly declined. One day while the nurse is working on a computer, the doctor stands behind her, touches her back, and massages her shoulders. The nurse quickly leaves. The following week, while the nurse is discussing a patient's case with the doctor, the doctor grabs her body tightly and attempts to kiss her. The nurse pushes the doctor away just in time to avoid it.
- A female news anchor reports to the station manager. When the station manager talks to her, he always stands very close, touches her body, and tells her how "great" she looks. The station manager frequently comes up behind the female news anchor when she is seated at the news desk and peers down her dress to check the placement of her "microphone." At the company holiday party, the manager pulls the news anchor aside, compliments her legs, and whispers in her ear that he could do "incredible things" to her.
- A male waiter is repeatedly told how good looking he is by his male manager. The manager asks him intrusive questions about his sex life and, in graphic detail, tells the waiter about his own sex life. The waiter makes it clear to his manager that he is straight and does not want to talk about his, or his manager's, sex life. The manager sends the waiter text messages with pictures of himself in various stages of undress. The following week, the male manager "accidentally" bumps into the waiter and touches his penis.
- A female sales associate is called into a meeting with her company's district manager. The district manager compliments her on her work performance and says that he thinks she has a great future with the company. While saying this, he moves close to her and grabs her hand. He tells her that he has control over all of the promotions in the district and that if she treats him "right," he will make sure her career is on the fast track. One week later, when the district manager comes to the store, he asks her to go to dinner that evening. The sales associate declines. Two weeks later, the district manager returns to the store and asks her if she has changed her mind about dinner. She tells him that she has not and she would like to keep their relationship strictly professional. The sales associate is subsequently transferred to a store one hour away from her home.
- A female engineer is asked by her supervisor to go to dinner while they are on a business trip. She agrees to do so. After discussing work at the beginning of dinner, the supervisor begins to ask her questions about her sex life. The engineer tells her supervisor that she is not comfortable discussing such matters with him. Later during dinner, the supervisor puts his hand on her thigh which she quickly removes. As dinner concludes, the supervisor says that if she comes back to his hotel room, he could tell her more about an upcoming promotion that could be available for her.
Sexual Orientation Harassment
Examples of sexual orientation harassment:
- A homosexual male is repeatedly called a "homo," "a fag," and "a queer" by his co-workers. The employee's supervisor asks him how he can "like men" and tells him that he is "disgusting." When a new employee is hired, the employee's colleagues tell the new employee to stay away from the employee because he "probably has AIDS because he is a fag."
- A homosexual female is told by her manager to stop dressing like "a butch lesbian." The employee's male colleagues make sexually explicit jokes about her having sex with women and call her a "dyke."
- A bisexual female is ridiculed by her colleagues for dating men and women. Her manager refers to her as a "part-time lesbo" and asks her if she is "gay or straight this week." Her colleagues joke that her perfect partner is someone who is transgender. They routinely e-mail her graphic pornographic images containing a transgender person having sex.
Examples of religious harassment include:
- A Muslim employee is mocked for wearing a hijab to work. Her colleagues constantly ask her when she is going to "bomb" the store and the store manager laughs at this joke. The manager emails the other employees a picture of the woman’s face superimposed onto a picture of an ISIS terrorist. Her colleagues, including the store manager, play a game where they hide her prayer rug in different spots in the break room.
- A Jewish man is ridiculed by his co-workers for wearing a kippah on his head. His colleagues purposely bump into him to try to knock it off his head. His supervisor goes on a rant in the break room in which he blames "dirty Jews" for the problems in America. The supervisor continually gives the Jewish employee the most physically demanding tasks as a punishment for his not having to work on Saturdays because of his religious beliefs.
- A Mormon employee is constantly insulted by his colleagues because of his religious beliefs. He is asked weekly how all his wives are doing. The company's owner calls him “Mike the Mormon.” Since he does not consume caffeine due to his religious beliefs, his colleagues replace the water in his water bottle with Sprite.
Example of age harassment:
- A 63-year-old employee is called "grandpa" and "old man" by his younger colleagues. The employee's supervisor tells him that he is lucky to still have a job because their work is not meant for "senior citizens" and insults him for working slowly. The employee's colleagues mock him for his difficulty in using the company's technology and purposely change the settings on his computer so that he cannot operate it.
Consult with Los Angeles Harassment Lawyer Andrew J. Malatesta
Malatesta Law offers a free consultation in which an employee can discuss their situation directly with Andrew Malatesta. Take advantage of the opportunity to speak with Andrew Malatesta who has recovered millions of dollars for California employees.
Phone (424) 284-1384 today or reach out online.