Workplace harassment is a form of discrimination that targets people of a protected class. Harassment occurs in a pattern over time, and can include the use of slurs, name-calling, threats or offensive jokes – just to name a few examples. Over time, harassment creates a hostile work environment. One reason it is important to file a workplace harassment claim quickly, is because hostile work environments have negative health consequences.
Workers can develop mental health problems from the ongoing harassment that include:
- Anxiety attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Poor concentration and declining work performance
- Mood swings
- Increased risk of suicide
Poor mental health can also cause physical health problems, such as high blood pressure, insomnia and heart disease. For these reasons, it is important for workers experiencing harassment to consider their legal options.
How Do You File a Workplace Harassment Claim?
California workers who have experienced harassment have up to one year to file claims with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Workers may also file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Although our blog today focused on workplace harassment, a broad term that encompasses several protected classes, workers experiencing sexual harassment can also file claims through the DFEH or EEOC. Either agency will investigate harassment claims an attempt to resolve issues. If evidence is found and issues cannot be resolved, hearings or lawsuits may follow.
It is crucial for people experiencing any type of harassment to record details. Affected workers can keep written logs of when each incident occurred. Some types of correspondence, such as voicemail or emails, can also help.
An employment law attorney can walk affected workers through the claim filing process, and provide representation during hearings and lawsuits.