If you have been discriminated or harassed at work based on your race, national origin, religion, disability, sex or sexual orientation, or other protected group, our firm is well-equipped to protect your rights and seek damages on your behalf. Contact The Cartwright Law Firm, Inc. for a free case evaluation.
We have represented dozens of individuals and groups of individuals that have faced discrimination and harassment that is shocking and offensive. We have been able to seek justice for these clients and secured damages, including punitive damages in some cases, for these people were forced to endure hostile work environments.
Most of the time an individual or group of individuals are responsible for harassing and discriminating against co-workers that are perceived as different, but in some instances, YOUR company can be held responsible for allowing it to go on or to continue…
Companies are liable for harassment that they know or should have known about. Under California law, an employer has an affirmative obligation to take all steps necessary to prevent harassment from occurring. Usually, this takes the form of an anti-discrimination and harassment policy and/or training. These are often contained in a company handbook or orientation packet. If an employer does not have a policy or program designed to prevent harassment, they may be held liable for failing to take steps to prevent harassment from occurring.
Companies function through employees, supervisors and managers. If an employee, not a supervisor, engages in harassment, the company must have actual knowledge of the harassment before it can be held liable for damages. Therefore, before liability can attach to your company in a co-worker/co-worker situation, the conduct must be so open and obvious that your company should have known about it or if your company had actual knowledge because you reported it.
The reason for this is that the law wants to provide a business protection from conduct that it does not know about. The law wants to provide a chance for a company to remedy the conduct once it finds out about it. If the conduct is known to the company, because it is obvious, or because of a complaint, the company must take prompt and sufficient remedial measures to try and stop further harassment from occurring. If nothing is done by the company, or too little is done, and the conduct happens again, the company may be liable for the co-worker’s conduct.
If the harassing conduct is engaged in by a supervisor, foreperson, manager, owner, officer or director of the company the company is automatically liable for any unlawful harassment. This is because the company’s eyes and ears are its supervisors and managers. If they engage in unlawful conduct, it is presumed that the company knows about it.
For starters, you should not fail to act because you fear that it will create more harassment/discrimination. You should also not quit! Employees are expected to use any available reporting mechanism to attempt to resolve their employment issues before quitting. If that fails, and the treatment continues, an employee may quit and seek damages, but they may also continue working at their place of employment and seek damages. You should first report the situation, IN WRITING, to the appropriate supervisor or manager (be sure to keep a copy for yourself). You should always follow your company’s reporting requirements whenever possible. If you have already reported the harassment/discrimination and it has continued, you should immediately contact us for a free case evaluation!
You should also know that you have a LIMITED TIME PERIOD TO BRING YOUR CLAIM OF HARASSMENT/DISCRIMINATION. In most situations you have one year to file a formal complaint with the appropriate governmental agency (EEOC or Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)) before you can sue your company in a way that you might be familiar with. We can help you with this process and often times, getting a law firm involved early is the best course of action. After filing this formal complaint with the gov’t, you or your legal representatives may obtain a “Right To Sue” letter, which is necessary before being able to file a complaint in the court system.
In sum, you should immediately contact us if you think you are a victim of harassment or discrimination. This conduct is not tolerated by our society and the we are passionate about protecting the rights of anyone that is being treated differently or unfairly because they may be perceived as “different” by others. We will zealously seek damages against those responsible to see to it that the contact is stopped and that you are compensated for what you have been forced to endure. Our Firm handles harassment and discrimination cases all over the state of California including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Marin, the East Bay, Sacramento, The Central Valley and beyond!