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Protecting against workplace harassment

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lists several characteristics that employers may not use when making employment decisions. For example, an employer may not terminate an employee solely based on his or her gender, sex or age if that person is over the age of 40. Employees are also protected from harassment based on their ancestry, sexual orientation or marital status.

If employees choose to speak another language while at work, an employer may not ban that language in the workplace. The only exception is if there is a valid business reason to require workers to speak a particular language while on the job. Employers with more than 50 employees must require managers to undergo sexual harassment training. Employers must also make reasonable accommodations for employees who have a disability or for those who hold legitimate religious beliefs.

Job applicants are also protected by the statutes set forth by the DFEH. They must be protected by employers from harassment such as gender harassment or sexual harassment. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding may also be given a work environment that is free from harassment due to those characteristics. Employees must be provided with information informing them of their rights if they are sexually or otherwise harassed at work.

Those who feel as if they have been harassed at work may wish to talk to an employment law attorney who can review the case to determine if harassment may have taken place. If there is evidence of harassment in the workplace, it may be possible to file a workplace discrimination lawsuit against an employer. An employee may be entitled to compensation such as reimbursement for lost wages or reinstatement.

Source: dfeh.ca.gov, "California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment ", September 14, 2014

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