Hostile Work Environment
Lawyer | Los Angeles

Hostile Work Environment

Have you ever felt unsafe at work? Have you felt discriminated against by your employer because of your race, religion, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information? If so, you may be eligible to file a hostile work environment lawsuit. Under California and federal law, employees who face targeted harassment in the workplace can hold their employer responsible for the abuse they've suffered. With the help of a skilled hostile work environment lawyer in Los Angeles, you may be able to recover compensation for the financial and emotional toll of this harassment.

Why Choose Lawyers for Justice as Your Los Angeles Hostile Work Environment Lawyer?

Competent and dependable legal support is essential to any workplace harassment claim. When your job is on the line, you need the knowledge and experience that can only come from professionals deeply familiar with the ins and outs of California employment law. At Lawyers for Justice, PC, we’re proud to offer clients not just a wealth of state-specific legal knowledge but also:

  • More than a decade’s worth of successful litigation experience,
  • Legal strategies and representation focused exclusively on employees’ needs,
  • A diverse legal team that offers all clients culturally sensitive personalized support,
  • The resources and numbers to tackle complex cases, and
  • A track record of winning compensation for employees who’ve been wronged at work.

It’s our priority to ensure that California employees have the same high-quality legal representation as their employers. That’s why we offer free initial consultations for all potential clients. If you’re concerned about a toxic atmosphere at work, contact our office to speak with an attorney today about your case.

Hostile Work Environment Lawyer Los Angeles

What Exactly Constitutes a Hostile Work Environment? 

While many employees believe that a racist boss, unpleasant work environment, rude coworker, or failure to qualify for a promotion can create a hostile work environment, a boss or co-worker who mistreats employees is the most common aspect of a hostile work environment claim.

A hostile work environment is created by a boss or co-worker whose actions, communication, or behavior make doing one’s job extremely difficult. This means that their unwelcome behavior altered the terms, conditions, and/or reasonable expectations of a comfortable work environment for employees.

A hostile work environment lawsuit is essentially a discrimination claim – but it may or may not be against a protected class. If an employer experiences unwelcome conduct or feels they were discriminated against and forced to work in a hostile work environment, they must prove the way in which they were discriminated against.

This could include workplace harassment based on your race, religion, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. And the harassing conduct must have been so antithetical to a healthy work environment that the actions were severe enough to be considered abuse.

When a supervisor or a co-worker’s harassing behavior negatively affects the workability of an entire workplace, it is possible that a hostile working atmosphere may exist. The federal government’s hostile work environment laws require the conduct to go beyond a singular comment.

Instead, it must involve pervasive sexual harassment, offensive conduct, sexual orientation discrimination, a violation of the Civil Rights Act, or other pervasive incidents that create such an environment that feels unsafe for workers.

Hostile Work Environment Damages

If a worker believes they have faced workplace discrimination due to a hostile workplace, the best solution is to contact hostile work environment attorney who fights illegal conduct in work environments. The financial value of damages in a hostile work environment lawsuit can be limited based on the number of employees within a company and whether or not a hostile environment warrants a class action lawsuit.

Typically, damages range from $50,000 to $300,000. Damages are meant to reimburse victims who file hostile work environment claims for the expenses they have incurred because of inappropriate behavior or offensive behavior in the workplace.

Here are some common damages for victims of hostile work environments.

  • Medical Bills
    • In some cases, an employee has to seek mental health treatment or therapy for the offensive behavior they endured at work.
    • Medical bills can include any medications taken or administered to the employee because of their Los Angeles hostile work environment.
  • Job-Related Losses
    • A hostile work environment attorney can help employees who have lost wages if they were fired for retaliating against employers who displayed discriminatory behavior.
    • Hostile work environment lawyers can help employees who were passed over for promotions because they were considered part of a protected class, had a mental disability, or were discriminated against in any way.
    • Employees can receive damages for the costs they incurred while having to search for another job.
  • Emotional Losses
    • If an employee suffered emotional harm due to the inappropriate behavior they suffered in their abusive workplace, a hostile work environment attorney can help them recoup some of the monetary expenditures associated with it.
    • In rare cases, a hostile work environment lawyer can help California workers be compensated for other inconveniences or loss of any life enjoyment as a result of what they endured.

Unfortunately, discriminatory actions can often have a ripple effect. If an employee was discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or other factors that may have stunted their career, negatively impacted their finances, or harmed their self-image, a powerful attorney can help them be compensated.

Such claims can be difficult to prove, so a good hostile workplace attorney would suggest all employees keep a record of any evidence that supports their hostile work environment harassment claim. It’s wise to contact a hostile work lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as possible when you suspect your rights were violated.

Examples of a Hostile Work Environment

Many types of inappropriate or harassing behavior can be so disruptive that they interfere with your ability to do your job. Here are some common forms of harassment that can contribute to a hostile work environment:

  • Derogatory slurs targeting someone’s age, religion, or personal traits;
  • Sexually suggestive comments or unwanted sexual advances;
  • Sabotaging or interfering with someone’s work;
  • Inappropriate physical contact;
  • Explicit images or vulgar drawings;
  • Threatening emails or text messages; and
  • Offensive jokes about a protected identity characteristic.

Generally, a single incident of harassing behavior isn’t enough to meet the legal definition of a hostile work environment unless it is particularly severe. To present a legal issue, the behavior usually has to happen repeatedly enough that it’s a consistent part of an employee’s working atmosphere. Behavior that is simply irritating or annoying also likely doesn’t make the cut for a legal claim—especially if it’s not targeted at a protected identity characteristic.

For example, a coworker who disturbs another by demonstrating an action like coughing too loudly or eating an especially fragrant lunch at their desk would not be considered to be creating a hostile work environment. But a coworker who regularly uses racial slurs or makes sexually charged jokes could create a hostile work environment.


Retaliation is another unfortunate but common part of hostile working environments. Employees who report harassment and abusive working conditions can sometimes be the target of employer backlash. Retaliation can be blatant—for example, when someone loses their job after complaining about workplace harassment. It can also take more subtle forms.

For example, let’s say an employee was injured while on the job and attempted to report the injury to management. If management’s solution to the injury report is to bully the claimant by pressuring them or harassing them enough so that they quit, that is another form of a hostile work environment and a violation of employment law. What’s worse?

Unfortunately, that behavior can become quite common. Just because a manager doesn’t want to handle the issue effectively doesn’t mean that an employee can’t fight back by complaining to their human resources department. And in fact, they should.

When the human resources department cannot handle the situation, a California worker should call a hostile work environment lawyer who can file a workplace harassment claim.

Workplace discrimination is a violation of federal law, and experienced hostile work environment attorneys know the best way to enforce federal laws to hold bully bosses accountable for their offensive comments and behavior that is classified as hostile – including sexual harassment.

Every Case Is Different

The legality of inappropriate comments and behaviors must be determined on a case-by-case basis. An employee generally cannot file a lawsuit after a single offensive incident.

That is why it is important to get a consultation from a top employment lawyer like the ones at the Lawyers for Justice, PC law firm. Our employment attorneys offer free consultations, which makes it easier for employees to access legal assistance protections.

Remember: a hostile work environment case must include harassment that is severe enough to alter the condition of the claimant’s employment and create an abusive working environment.

Lawyers for Justice, PC employs an employment lawyer team of top harassment attorneys who know federal law inside and out so they can protect employees. We help workers build documented evidence against their direct supervisor (or the person responsible for the harassment) to strengthen their case. We know how to fight for what’s yours. We’ve recovered millions of dollars for past clients over the years and know how to win hostile work environment cases.

What Type of Lawyer Is Needed For a Hostile Work Environment?

Various types of lawyers deal with different employee issues. However, hiring a hostile work environment attorney is the best option to win a case involving threatening workplace conditions. Sophisticated employment law attorneys know the hostile workplace rules and what to look for.

How To Prove a Hostile Work Environment Exists

Documenting a harasser’s behavior is a wonderful option to help build a case against unlawful conduct. Examples could include a letter one received that displays race discrimination or an email sent by a co-worker manager or human resources professional that involves gender identity discrimination against someone with protected status.

It could also include writing down statements from co-workers and documenting the date and time of the offense. These are all examples of how to gather evidence to prove unlawful conduct and that there was a violation of the law.

These types of documentation are instrumental in helping a harassment attorney prove hostile work environments exist and that legal action can be taken.

The Right to a Harassment-Free Workplace

The average American worker has worked over 95,000 hours over the past 10 years. People spend a lot of time in the workplace, so it is important that employees feel safe and free from harassment while at work. When a job detracts from the work one is supposed to accomplish there, legal options should be exercised and legal rights should be invoked to the full extent of the law.

A workplace is a place where an employee should be able to hone and develop their skills, not feel like there is harassment waiting behind every corner.

What is the Difference Between a Hostile Work Environment and a Safe Workplace?

Harassment takes many forms, and each one can violate state law. A safe workplace promotes a healthy company culture where employees feel that they can accomplish their job duties in peace and – hopefully – thrive in their careers.

A hostile work environment includes behaviors that are systemic, involve harassment, and make an employee feel unsafe.

Can You Sue a Job for a Toxic Work Environment?

It is possible to sue an employee of a company for harassment in the workplace. Contact a hostile work environment attorney today for more information on options.

Contact Lawyers for Justice, PC Today for a Free Consultation

Contact Lawyers for Justice, PC so we can determine if an employer violated any federal or state laws. To get started, call (818) 647-9323 and receive a free consultation.

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What Can I Do About A Hostile Work Environment? – FAQ

Is a Hostile Work Environment Illegal?

In California, a hostile work environment is categorized as any inappropriate behavior at work that is severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive or dangerous workplace culture for one or more employees. Workplace hostility and workplace harassment is illegal under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

What Can I Do About a Hostile Work Environment?

If an employee feels threatened at work, they should notify their company’s HR department. After they report discrimination or other hostile behavior and there is a record, it’s never a bad idea to seek out the guidance of an employment attorney to understand all the options one has.

How Do You Win a Hostile Work Environment Case?

Employment law cases relating to workplace harassment are best left to workplace discrimination lawyers. However, an employee can help strengthen their case by providing evidence (such as documentation of each time workplace hostility was displayed) so the attorney can fight for them.

Is It Worth Getting An Employment Lawyer? – FAQ

Is it Worth Getting an Employment Lawyer?

An employment attorney deals with any aspect of employment. It is never a bad idea to consult with an attorney so an employee can have all the information to decide how to move forward with their case. At Lawyers for Justice, PC there is no need to feel uncomfortable speaking to an attorney because the firm offers a free consultation. There are never any up-front fees.

What Can an Employment Lawyer Do for Me?

An employment lawyer will fight on an employee’s behalf to make sure they receive the proper compensation for their workplace issue. The employment lawyer upholds employment laws to ensure an employee receives the proper financial damages for their hostile work environment claim.

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