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How To File A Harassment Claim In The Workplace: California

Harassment & Discrimination

How To File A Harassment Claim In The Workplace: California

Lawsuits allegingharassment in the workplace are common in California. Every employer and employee should be aware of their rights in these cases. For an employee, how to file harassment in the workplace in California, comes down to a list of questions to ask yourself before you proceed to file the claim, the law is clear and if your claim meets all the criteria you can proceed with the case. Don't rush in before you are certain, as not all claims are successful.

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What You Need To Know Before You File A CA Harassment Claim in the Workplace

California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) defines two different types of harassment behavior, and they are:

1. Quid pro quo harassment: When the Boss or Supervisor asks an employee for sex as a condition for promotion or a pay rise.

2. Hostile Work Environment: This does not involve sexual harassment but can be based on religion, race, color, age, or sexual orientation.

Once the type of harassment is established the employee then needs to show that it was severe or pervasive or perhaps both.

This precludes employees from making claims against minor insensitive incidents, Employees are not the only people who can make harassment claims in California others include, job applicants, volunteers, work experience unpaid interns, and people providing services to a company, (contractors).

Ultimate Guide To State And Local Harassment Prevention Training Requirements

Download the guide outlining all the state and local laws around sexual harassment prevention training requirements.

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Other Forms of Harassment

Race, religion, age, and gender equality are often the basis for harassment in the workplace claims. If the harassment continues daily it can form the basis for a hostile work environment case. A gay man in the workplace may encounter a lot of homophobic innuendoes, by other men at work, causing extreme embarrassment and leading to ostracization of the gay man, who may well have a case to claim a hostile work environment.

Filing a Workplace Harassment Claim in California

To file a claim, contact your nearest EEOC office ( Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). This agency operates with DFEH ( Department of Fair Employment and Housing) The two agencies cooperate with one another to process the claims, so just file with one, not both agencies. and upload your claim online. Once you have filed your charge you can keep track online of the status of your complaint.

There are time limits for charges to be filed, and action must be taken within one year of the offense occurring. So if you intend to act, file your claim sooner than later. The EEOC can decide not to file your lawsuit based on evidence supplied, if they do that you are issued with a 'Notice of Right to Sue". If they proceed with the action the investigation of information takes about six months to conclude. Sometimes mediation is recommended, and this is a bit faster.

Pursuing a Claim in Court

If your case is not resolved by the agencies, you may need to take your claim to court. Be aware that a federal employment discrimination case cannot be taken to court unless it has been investigated by the EEOC, and dismissed by them, meaning your avenues of recourse have been exhausted and you must file with the DFEH prior to proceeding with the lawsuit.

Californian law does not cap compensation levels, that are capped at the Federal level. This means that attorneys choose to lodge damages in California where the law is more favorable to the litigant. If you file in California using an attorney you can claim costs like the fees paid to the attorney, burden of proof fees, and other relevant fees. Whether you file in California or in a Federal court the EEOC must first issue a document known as 'Dismissal and Notice of Rights, sometimes called Notice of Right to Sue'. Once you receive that notice you have 90 days to lodge your claim.

Working to Prevent Harassment

A lot of court cases would never progress if staff had the advantage of appropriate training in the workplace. In larger companies with 50 or more people employed it is compulsory for the workplace to provide sexual harassment training for all California supervisory staff. This is the easiest way to prevent sexual harassment.

A simple way of getting this done is to contact EasyLlama, who is able to supply this sexual harassment training to your staff.

The training courses are delivered both' face to face' covering all types of workplace discrimination, formulated to meet the harassment requirements of Californian Law, and by LMS module to update staff who can't attend.

Workplaces find it difficult to keep up with all legislative requirements and Mandatory Training, so it makes perfect sense to outsource training to a reputable company like EasyLlama (here's why we don't recommend the free online harassment training provided by the government).

Proving A Workplace Harassment Claim For California Employees

Most employers follow the law, and they know that they are legally prohibited from wrongful termination of an employee.

Once the employee has retained a lawyer and filed a case in the Californian Court, the role of the lawyer is.

  • Collecting relevant information for the case.
  • Deciding how the evidence applies to the law
  • Strategizing to avoid issues and pitfalls
  • Attempting to maximize the financial payout for the employee

Good representation is important to the employee, as without it the case may not have a good outcome. Some attorneys will work for no upfront costs, and instead, ask for a percentage of the payout at the end. In some cases, the cost burden goes back to the employer, especially when they know he /she can afford it. if you are an employee lodging a case against your employer you are not forced to have legal representation. It is better for you to have your own attorney to get the outcome you deserve.


You can see that harassment in the workplace can be a minefield. It is safer to retain the Human Resource expertise of EasyLlama's team and order all the training modules. This will give your staff the benefit of understanding harassment problems from both sides of the argument, especially less experienced staff. Training also gives them some skills in deflecting unwanted attention, and realize that they don't have to tolerate certain behaviors and actions. Your workplace will be more cohesive and productive when everyone understands the implications of harassment.

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