Category Archives: Harassment

New Sexual Harassment Whiteboard Video

Branigan just finished filming a whiteboard video on unlawful sexual harassment at work. This video explains the basics of California’s sexual harassment laws. For more information, click the link to travel to our main sexual harassment page.

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January 26, 2017 · 9:43 am

10 Crazy Sexual Harassment Cases

These days, even if it’s newsworthy, a sexual harassment case has a lot to compete with in order to command the public’s interest. In a digital mediascape flooded with a steady stream of updates on the world’s constant scandals, sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace don’t hold us in rapt attention as in the days of Anita Hill.

But while the latest Kardashian fiasco competes for clicks in the blogosphere, sexual harassment cases continue to flood the legal system at both the federal and state level. Many involve a male supervisor who harasses a female subordinate, but they come in a variety of other forms as well, and the details never fail to be shocking.

We’ve plumbed the depths of the internet to come up with a list of ten high profile and slightly crazy sexual harassment cases. No doubt some of these cases were high profile due some unusual quirks — from bear-hugging surgeons to sex-hungry CEOs.

Before we get to our list, here is a video that Mr. Robertson posted on YouTube that explains CA’s sexual harassment law. You can skip it if you’re in a hurry. Remember, while it might be entertaining to browse these cases from behind the safety of a computer screen, it’s usually a living hell for those caught in the experience. State and federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on their sex or gender (in addition to other factors). If you believe you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment or discrimination, contact our sexual harassment attorney to see if we can help.

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1. Julie Fisher v. San Pedro Peninsula Hospital

In 1987 a surgical nurse named Julie Fisher filed a sexual discrimination suit against San Pedro Peninsula hospital in California. Fisher claimed that a gynecologist she worked with named Dr. Barry Tischler contributed to an environment of sexual harassment against women at the hospital. In her lawsuit, Fischer alleged Dr. Tischler engaged in sexual insults and inappropriate touching. On one occasion, Fischer claimed Tischler hugged her so tightly; he separated the cartilage in her ribs.

After Fisher complained to hospital management about Dr. Tischler’s behavior, the Dr. wrote her a letter of apology, but no disciplinary action was taken against him. She claimed that following an investigation by the hospital, Dr. Tischler continued to engage in harassing behavior with other female hospital employees, including pulling nurses onto his lap, grabbing women from behind and putting his hands on their breasts, picking them up and swinging them around. On one occasion, Fischer claimed, the good doctor even threw one woman onto a gurney. According to court documents, these actions took place in hospital hallways, the lunchroom, as well as the operating room.

The nurse claimed her fellow employees ostracized her after she complained about the Doctor’s behavior. Fisher said too that her husband, also a doctor at the hospital, began seeing a decline in his referrals.

The case was considered landmark at the time because Fischer was ultimately allowed to seek damages as a witness to sexual harassment and not as the direct target of harassment. Before she went to trial, the California Supreme Court ruled that employees who are not direct targets of sexual harassment could still sue if they can prove the harassment was pervasive enough to create a hostile workspace.

In a decision rendered by the California Court of Appeals, 2nd District, one judge took exception to a lower court’s ruling that referred to Dr. Tischler’s behavior as merely “sophomoric antics.” The judge wrote, “Relegating this conduct to such a category is both demeaning and dishonest. Grabbing a woman’s breasts, gesturing towards a woman’s vaginal area or even making offensive sexual statements to another is far from being merely sophomoric. It is egregious, hostile conduct which should not be condoned or excused to immaturity.”

But in 1992, after only seven hours of deliberation, a jury voted 9-3 in favor of Dr. Tischler, finding that he did not engage in sexual harassment. According to a Los Angeles Times article following the verdict, Fisher’s lawyer, Peggy Garrity, likened her client’s case to the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill investigation.

“Clarence Thomas also made it to the Supreme Court and Anita Hill took a difficult, painful step and she made a difference,” Garrity told the times. “Slowly there will be changes here.”

According to an online state database, Dr. Tischler is still licensed to practice medicine.

2. EEOC v. Z Foods

In July, a Federal Judge awarded a group of California farm laborers more than $1.4 million in damages relating to sexual harassment and retaliation. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the workers by the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleged that two supervisors with California based Z Foods awarded promotions to female farm workers in exchange for sexual favors. The supervisors were also found to subject female workers to continuous sexual advances, leering and unwanted physical touching. The company also fired male and female employees who complained about the harassment.

The award was the maximum amount allowed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The judgment found that the farm workers suffered severe emotional distress as the result of the company’s actions.

3. Elementary School Sexual Harassment

As far as pure craziness goes, this one might have taken the top prize, had the sexual harassment portion actually gone through the courts. Not only was the accused harasser a child, but he was also the winner of a large settlement.

In 2006, officials of at a Massachusetts elementary school accused a first grader of sexually harassing a fellow student. While sitting in a classroom of about 20 students, as well as a teacher, the unidentified boy allegedly touched a female classmate inside her clothing waistband on her skin.

The school principle said the child’s actions constituted sexual harassment and suspended the boy for three days. In addition, the police were contacted as well as social services and the district attorney. No charges were filed, but the boy’s parents sued the city in 2007. Media reports stated that an insurance settlement paid out to the boy’s parents totaled $20,000. Meanwhile, the boy will receive a guaranteed lump sum of more than $132,000 when he turns 17. The boy’s attorney was also paid $60,000 in legal fees.

According to the daily paper the Enterprise, the city’s legal representative, Thomas Brophy, acknowledged the school erred in its dealing with the child.

“It was not handled properly, and we’re paying the price,” Brophy said.

4. Penny Muck v. Geffen Records

The music industry is rife with tales of debauchery. While many stories from the industry revolve around old-fashioned sex, drugs and rock and roll, legitimate harassment — and worse — does occur. One high-profile case to recently storm through the blogosphere involves the efforts of pop star Kesha to be released from her contract with Sony Records over claims that she was sexually assaulted and verbally abused by music producer Dr. Luke. While young music fans may find such a story to be an outlier in the industry, record executives have a well-established history of harassment and discrimination that goes back decades.

In 1992 the media referred to a 28-year-old secretary at Geffen Records named Penny Muck as the Anita Hill of the music industry. In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Muck claimed her boss, Marko Babineau, general manager of the label, had engaged in various harassing behaviors including fondling her breasts, and on one occasion, forcing her face into his crotch. Perhaps most shockingly, Muck recounted the day when Babineau stood over her desk and began to masturbate. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Muck said the experience reminded her of something out of Jekyll and Hyde.

“After he ejaculated, it was so weird,” Muck said. “He just walks back into his office, it’s like business as usual. As if nothing ever happened.”

According to the Times, Babineau responded to the court complaint in writing and vacillated between denying wrongdoing and exercising his right to avoid self-incrimination.

While Geffen initially said Babineau left the company to spend more time with family, it later admitted to terminating the executive as a result of an investigation into his behavior with Muck. Though the label denied any prior knowledge of Babineau’s harassing behavior, the company quietly settled the suit with Muck for $500,000.

10 Crazy Sexual Harassment Cases | Employment Lawyer

5. Melissa Clerking & Lindsey Allison v. Long Beach Police Department

Sometimes a discrimination case has all the elements of a made for TV movie. This was literally the case in the early 1990s when two female police officers sued the Long Beach Police Department for harassment and won a large settlement.

The officers, Melissa Clerkin, and Lindsey Allison accused male officers of treating them with hostility, and in some cases, putting them in physical danger. Allison, the department’s first female canine handler, was subject to ridicule and isolation from those in her unit who allowed their dogs to attack her. Clerkin meanwhile had been in a years-long physical relationship with a supervisor. When the relationship ended, the supervisor threatened her. When she complained about this treatment, male colleagues refused to provide backup assistance, and sent offensive messages to her over police computers.

In 1993, after Clerkin and Allison won their lawsuit, the city decided to settle the case for nearly $3 million. The women’s ordeal was chronicled in the made for TV movie “With Hostile Intent.” Broadcast in 1993, the film starred Melissa Gilbert.

6. James Gist v. Pam Matranga

Not every case of sexual discrimination or harassment involves a man mistreating a woman (though a lot of them do). In 2014, a Texas jury awarded $567,000 to 51-year-old former police constable James Gist after it found a supervising constable, Pam Matranga, sexually harassed him for nearly five months.

Gist accused Matranga of making suggestive comments and advances, as well as pressing his head between her breasts. Gist’s attorney told the Houston Chronicle, that in addition to awarding his client $200,000 more than he asked for, the jury wasn’t swayed by the atypical gender dynamics of the case.

“They rejected this whole notion that you get away with it because you are a female,” Griffin said.

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7. Corey Lashley v. Sheila Flynn

Yet another instance of a male plaintiff winning a sexual harassment against a female employer happened in 2014 in Queens. Corey Lashley took a job at the New Life Business Institute in 2012 after company president Sheila Flynn offered him position advertising for the company. While the New York Daily News referred to Flynn as a “sex-hungry boss,” federal court documents paint a slightly less salacious story.

According to court records, the pair initially met at a nightclub and a romantic relationship formed during Lashley’s employment with New Life. But Lashley contended that after he broke things off with Flynn, she continued to pursue him romantically.

Lashley testified that Flynn’s pursuit included rubbing on his body while the two were in her office, as well as performing oral sex on him. He testified to feeling badly about the relationship and made attempts to avoid his boss. Soon after that, Flynn fired Lashley.

During the civil trial, Flynn testified the reason she fired her former lover was because of his criminal background, which limited his ability to obtain a particular license pertinent to his job. However, Lashley maintained that his boss was aware of his criminal background at the time she hired him. Lashley sued Flynn and her company under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act arguing that he was the victim of “quid pro quo” sexual harassment. This type of harassment occurs when rejection of unwelcome sexual conduct is used as a basis for termination. A jury awarded him $40,000.

8. Kerry Woods v. Chuck Wolfe

In another example of the unexpected ways sexual harassment can occur, the EEOC sued a construction company in Louisiana in 2009 on behalf of a male employee who claimed to have been sexually harassed by another male employee.

According to the EEOC, the accused harasser was Chuck Wolfe, a superintendant with Boh Bros. Construction Co. Employee Kerry Woods accused Wolfe who taunted him with abusive sexual language and even exposed himself to Woods.

During the trial, Wolfe admitted to harassing Woods, because in his opinion, Woods was effeminate and didn’t conform to the stereotype of an ironworker. According to an article in the Pacific Standard, Wolfe took exception to Woods making an off-hand comment to coworkers about preferring pre-moistened antibacterial wipes to toilet paper. Wolfe reportedly found this to be a less than manly thing to say out loud.

Boh Bros. was ultimately found to have allowed “hostile work environment” sexual harassment to occur. The jury awarded Woods $451,000 in back pay, compensatory and punitive damages. This figure was reportedly reduced by the court to $301,000 due to statutory limits.

9. Women Harassing Other Women

As the previous case on this list showed, in the eyes of the law, men are capable of sexually harassing other men. It should come as no surprise then that sometimes women harass other women sexually.

In 2014, the EEOC announced a same sex harassment settlement in favor of a group of women who worked at a Reno Nevada branch of Wells Fargo. According to an EEOC press release, four female employees accused another female employee as well as a female manager of directing sexual comments, gestures and images at them. The manager and teller were also accused of inappropriately touching and suggesting that the four employees wear sexually provocative clothing.

During its investigation, the EEOC found that the women reported the offensive behavior several times, but management failed to respond quickly. Wells Fargo agreed to pay $290,000 to the four bank tellers as settlement.

10. Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services Inc.

The last case on this list laid the groundwork for same sex harassment cases to go to trial, and itself went all the way to the United States Supreme Court in 1997.

The case involved Joseph Oncale, a roustabout on an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Oncale accused his male co-workers, who were reportedly heterosexual, of harassing and taunting him repeatedly. In one incident, Oncale claimed while he and the other employees were showering, he was grabbed by his coworkers, who forced a bar of soap between his buttocks. Oncale also claimed to have been threatened with rape.

Oncale quit his job, and eventually sued. After a lower court tossed the case because it was a same-sex incident, the US Supreme course heard the case and decided the gender of the victim was irrelevant under the civil rights act.

“Nothing in [this law] necessarily bars a claim of discrimination because of sex merely because the plaintiff and the defendant are of the same sex,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote on behalf of the court.


The above 10 examples are crazy stories from a factual standpoint. If you want to read about some enormous California sexual harassment verdicts, click here. If you want to learn more about wrongful termination, click here. If you want to learn more about other types of harassment, view our main hostile work environment & harassment page here. If you’re looking for a personal injury attorney, this guy is pretty good. Finally, if you just want to speak with an employment lawyer, visit our homepage.





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What is the Difference Between Harassment, Discrimination, & Bullying in California Employment Law?

“Harassment” and “discrimination” are terms that many people use interchangeably. Is there a legal difference between the two? Yes, there is a significant difference. But what about “bullying?” How does California employment law define and deal with bullying? This article will define harassment, discrimination, and bullying and explain how these three concepts play out in California’s workplaces.

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The Definition of Harassment, Discrimination & Bullying

Harassment is when an employee is treated poorly (name calling or unwanted touching) because of a protected characteristic or activity. Discrimination is when an employer takes an adverse action against an employee (termination or demotion) because of a protected characteristic or activity. Bullying is when an employee is treated poorly, but the bad treatment is not because of a protected characteristic or activity.

An example will make these distinctions clear. Jane is an employee for Acme. Jane is discriminated against if she is fired because she is a woman. She is harassed if John, her boss, calls her a derogatory name because she is a woman. She is bullied if John makes fun of Jane for being a Dodger’s fan. Here, being a woman is a protected characteristic in California employment law (“sex”). Being a Dodger’s fan is not.

Harassment and discrimination are unlawful. Bullying, on the other hand, it not illegal. Currently, there is no California or Federal employment law that addresses workplace bullying. However, if the bullying happens because of the victim’s religion, race, sex, disability, or color, etc., it becomes “harassment” under CA’s employment law. In that case, the employer is legally required to prevent it from occurring. If they don’t, the employee may file a lawsuit.

Read below to learn more about CA’s protected categories.

The CA Supreme Court on the Difference

In the case of Reno v. Baird, the California Supreme Court highlighted the distinction between harassment and discrimination. It said:

The court noted that harassment consists of a type of conduct not necessary for performance of a supervisory job. Instead, harassment consists of conduct outside the scope of necessary job performance, conduct presumably engaged in for personal gratification, because of meanness or bigotry, or for other personal motives. Harassment is not conduct of a type necessary for management of the employer’s business or performance of the supervisory employee’s job…. Discrimination claims, by contrast, arise out of the performance of necessary personnel management duties. While harassment is not a type of conduct necessary to personnel management, making decisions is a type of conduct essential to personnel management. (emphasis added)

California’s Protected Categories in Harassment and Discrimination Cases

A California employer cannot hold certain traits or characteristics against an employee. California law has specifically outlined what an employer may not use against employees. These protected characteristics include:

Fortunate for CA employees, both harassment and discrimination include every one of these characteristics. Under Title VII, the federal anti-discrimination and harassment law, only protects against race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.

Differences Between Harassment Discrimination Bullying

Who is Liable for This Bad Behavior?

Another subtle, but important difference between discrimination and harassment cases is who may be liable. In discrimination cases, only the company-employer is liable. In a discrimination case the manager making the discriminatory decision will not be personally liable because the harm stems from the employer.

But in harassment cases the person who does the harassing may be personally liable.  The harasser can be sued regardless of whether the employer knew or should have known the harassment was occurring. While it is the duty of the employer to provide a safe work environment, as we all know, people find ways to hide what they want to hide.

If you want to investigate the difference further, feel free to look up the actual statute on point. Discrimination is governed by CA Government Code § 12940(a) and harassment is § 12940(j).

Any Exceptions to these Rules?

Generally, the only times in which the characteristics listed above can legally be used against a potential or current employee is when the employer can show that the characteristic is required for the job. This is called a bona fied occupational qualification. For example, if someone with a heart problem applied to be a firefighter. Even if that person could show that they can perform the essential functions of the job with an accommodation, the physical requirements of a firefighter job, mixed with the potential physical limitations of a heart condition, could endanger the lives of others. It is highly likely that the law would allow discrimination in this case.

Why Isn’t Bullying Illegal Like Harassment?

The answer is that “its complicated.” Essentially, the law is not perfect. It cannot regulate all bad behavior. The problem with bullying is that the definition is so wide and broad that if you made it illegal you would have an explosion of lawsuits. Since there already enough lawsuits in this world, the California legislature is unlikely to pass a law that could result in widespread abuse of the legal system.

Additional Legal Information

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Sexual Harassment by a Supervisor

Our firm receives several calls per week from potential clients alleging that they were sexually harassed at work. No story is exactly the same, but most sexual harassment stories have common threads. For example, most of the stories we hear are with men harassing women. And usually, the male is the supervisor or boss of the female employee. Thus, we figure it would be a good idea to review why sexual harassment conduct by a supervisor is different from legal standpoint than harassment conduct by a coworker.

Branigan Robertson explains in the below YouTube video. But if you’d rather read, skip the video.

The Difference Between Harassment by a Supervisor & a Co-worker?

While sexual harassment is harmful and traumatic no matter who the harasser is, it does make a big difference from a legal standpoint what the harasser’s position is in the workplace. If an employee is sexually harassed by a supervisor, then usually the company is automatically liable. Why is company liability automatic? Because the supervisor has direct control over the employee, such as whether or not to terminate the employee. Often times, an employee may not complain if he or she is afraid that their job will be jeopardized if the supervisor finds out of the complaint.

Unlike company liability for a hostile work environment created by a supervisor, a company is not automatically liable for sexual harassment by a co-worker. However, if a co-worker is sexually harassing a co-worker, then the company is only liable for the co-worker’s conduct if the company allows, encourages or lets such harassment continue after being put on notice about it. Basically, the company is liable for the co-worker’s conduct if the company has knowledge (or should of had knowledge) of it. What this typically means is that the employee being harassed must complain about the harassment to someone in the company (i.e. – human resources or an executive) in order for the company to know about it. If the company has no idea the sexual harassment is occurring, then the company will not be liable.

Case Example: EEOC v. Cyma Orchids Corp. 

Cyma Orchids Corp. is a great example of automatic company liability for sexual harassment by a supervisor. Plaintiff was an employee for several years with Cyma Orchids Corp. Throughout her employment she, along with other female co-workers, were sexually harassed by multiple managers and supervisors. On numerous occasions, plaintiff and the other female workers were offered inappropriate and uninvited sexual propositions, had their private parts groped, and were the subjects of sexual jokes and references. Plaintiff was smart enough to retain an employment lawyer to file a lawsuit against her former employer. Since the plaintiff was sexually harassed by her supervisors, Cyma Orchids Corp was automatically liable as plaintiff was under direct control of the supervisors. Like many cases, this case settled before trial for over $200,000.

Sexual harassment should not happen anymore. Unfortunately, it is still very common in California. If you are being harassed, whether by a supervisor or a co-worker, contact an employment lawyer today. It is important that you educate yourself about your rights before quitting or going out on a leave. We highly recommend that you get a consultation before you complain to management. There is a right way and a wrong way to make a workplace complaint. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our office.

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When Does Favoritism Become Harassment at Work?

We all hear the typical workplace stories of the male supervisor being overly generous to the young and attractive female subordinate. But at one point does sexual favoritism become a hostile work environment, and therefore a violation of law? This is a tricky question with an answer that is not exactly clear cut.

Sexual Favoritism and CA Employment Law

Interestingly enough, it is not unlawful for a supervisor to favor a subordinate with whom he or she has a romantic relationship. However, it may be unlawful and create a hostile work environment if the favoritism is based upon the granting of sexual favors, it is widespread throughout the workplace, and employees witnessing the favoritism do not welcome such conduct. It does not matter if the employee claiming hostile work environment was the target of such conduct, they can merely be a witness to the conduct.

Under California law, an employee may establish a claim of sexual harassment by demonstrating that widespread sexual favoritism was so severe as to alter his or her working conditions and create a hostile work environment. What is severe as to alter the employee’s working conditions depends on the fact of the case.

Case Study: Salinda vs. DIRECTV Inc.

Salinda is a great example of widespread sexual favoritism in the workplace. Plaintiff was an employee of the Defendant for several years. After a few years of employment with Defendant, Plaintiff witnessed favoritism for young and attractive female employees by male managers and superiors. Further, these female employees would perform sexual favors for the male managers and superiors.

After she complained of this, certain managers and employees were fired. However, years after this first incident, sexual favoritism ensued again. She again complained about the widespread sexual favoritism. Around the same time, Plaintiff was diagnosed with disease of the eye. When she requested a reasonable accommodation, Defendant retaliated against Plaintiff by verbally reprimanding her on her job performance. Soon after, Ms. Salinda was fired.

Plaintiff argued that, among other things, she was retaliated against for her complaints regarding widespread sexual favoritism in the workplace. Defendant argued that Plaintiff was terminated for legitimate reasons having to do with poor job performance. The jury sided with the Plaintiff, and awarded the Plaintiff $1,178,341 in damages.

Sexual Favoritism is Unlawful in California

Sexual favoritism in the workplace is not an uncommon occurrence whether it is between a male and female, male and male, or female and female. Sadly, some larger companies give their star executives too much discretion in the workplace, and sometimes these executives will have employees engage in sexual favors to get ahead in the workplace. If you feel you are a victim of widespread sexual favoritism at your work, then contact an employment lawyer to see if the law was broken.

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Labor Law Attorneys: Holding Companies Accountable For Sexual Harassment

Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace occurs quite a bit in California. Most employment lawyers across California still receive several calls per week regarding some sort of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment typically falls within the umbrella of “hostile work environment,” which is generally offense verbal comments or uncalled for physical touching. In order to prove the existence of sexual harassment, the employee most show that he or she was a victim of unwanted sexual comments or touching, and the sexual harassment was so serious that it altered the employee’s working environment into an abusive working environment.

The common sequence to these types of cases is twofold: 1) the employee complains about sexual harassment, and 2) then the employee is terminated for some arbitrary or made up reason.

Sexual Harassment Case Example – EEOC v. Zoria Farms

Although this is a federal case, Zoria nonetheless is a great case example of sexual harassment in the workplace. Plaintiffs were female employees of Zoria Farms, a large dried fruits company. Plaintiffs sued arguing that they were not re-hired for their current position as retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment. During their employment, Plaintiffs were constantly victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Coworkers would make sexual comments, leer at them, hug, try and kiss, asked them out on dates, and even requested sex from them. Plaintiffs complained numerous times to Defendant, but nothing changed because the employer took no steps to rectify the situation. The Plaintiffs were not re-hired for their position.

Plaintiffs filed suit through the EEOC alleging, among other things, sexual harassment. Like many civil lawsuits, the parties in Zoria entered into a settlement agreement prior to trial. The settlement agreement called for the Plaintiffs to be awarded $330,000 paid by Defendant, and the company was to implement sexual harassment training. If you want to review more facts about the Zoria decision, visit the EEOC website here.

Labor Law Attorneys & Sexual Harassment

Sadly, what happened to the employees in Zoria is pretty common throughout California and the nation. However, cases such as Zoria reaffirm that if an individual is wronged, then justice will be served if they have a meritorious case. If you feel you have been sexually harassed at work, or retaliated against for complaining about sexual harassment, please contact a sexual harassment lawyer as soon as possible. Generally, the statute of limitations for sexual harassment cases in California is short, so don’t sit on your legal rights. Contact someone as soon as you feel the harassment has occurred.

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Racial Harassment in the Workplace

It is unlawful for an employer to harass another employee based on that employee’s race. An employee can show that he or she is being harassed for race if the employee is a member of a protected class (in this case the protected class is race), employee experienced unwelcome harassment at work due to his or her race, and the harassment severely interfered with his or her employment as it created a abusive working environment.

Racial harassment is very similar to sexual harassment, except the protected category is race rather than sex.

What is Racial Harassment?

Racial harassment occurs when there is racial or ethnic slurs, the distribution of racially offensive writings, and even treating a person differently and poorly because of that person’s race, and the harassment must be routine and repeated. But each case is different. Racial comments may be harassment in one case, but not in another case. You need to speak with an employment lawyer to find out if what you went through constitutes legal harassment.

The below video is all about hostile work environments (which includes race harassment). It provides a fantastic overview of CA’s law.

What Is the Employer’s Responsibility?

If the employee complains to the employer about racial discrimination or harassment, the employer has a duty to prevent further occurrences and remedy the harassment. If the employer fails to prevent it from happening again, then the employer may become legally liable for any damages that result. An employer is usually automatically liable if a supervisor is the one doing the harassing.

Race Harassment Example Case: Duffy v. City of Los Angeles

Here is an interesting case to come out the state court docket this year. Plaintiff was a Caucasian/white male who worked as a gardener for the City, the defendant. He was employed with the defendant for nineteen years. For the last several years of his employment, Plaintiff was experiencing racial harassment in the workplace for being white by his co-workers. On one occasion, one of his Hispanic co-workers told him that he hates white people and would never offer Plaintiff assistance in the workplace.

The harassment increased after Plaintiff was injured on the job. The defendant denied all of this and basically argued that it never happened. The jury unanimously found in favor of the Plaintiff for disability and racial harassment among other things and awarded the Plaintiff a gross verdict of over $3,000,000.

Duffy v. City of LA just goes to show that the laws protect everyone regardless of their race. At the end of the day, if you are being discriminated and harassed in the workplace, and you think it is because of your race or national origin, contact an employee rights attorney for a free consultation.

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