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California Harassment Lawyer

Despite strict laws, many employees are unaware of their rights, and this impedes them from seeking legal help when faced with harassment. In California, there is a strong legal framework designed to safeguard workers’ rights and provide relief. Understanding these laws and when to consult a harassment lawyer can make all the difference.

While workplace harassment and workplace discrimination may seem closely related, they are separate and distinct issues under California law.

Harassment is defined as undesired behavior towards someone due to protected characteristics such as their race, color, religion, and sexual orientation. This behavior can manifest in a number of forms such as unsavory jokes, physical aggression, or demeaning insults.

Discrimination is more closely related to unfair job-related decisions. It takes place when an employer makes choices relating to employment:  hiring, firing, promoting, or task assignments based on these protected traits rather than an individual’s abilities or qualifications.

Harassment is about hostile conduct, while discrimination is more about biased decisions. Both are damaging, but they are dealt with differently under the law. Understanding this distinction is the first step to protecting your rights.

What is Harassment in California Law?

When we talk about harassment in a professional setting, it’s crucial to understand that it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. Workplace harassment in California can manifest itself in various ways.

Sexual harassment is one prevalent form. It often encompasses unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical behaviors of a sexual nature. Such behaviors not only create a hostile environment but also violate the dignity of the person subjected to them. Sexual harassment is only one form of harassment an individual may experience in the workplace, there are others:

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Racial harassment can be devastating. It may entail the use of racial slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s race or color, or displaying racially offensive symbols.


Disability harassment may involve ridicule or mockery of a person’s physical or mental differences. It’s a gross violation of a person’s rights and underlines the need for awareness and sensitivity toward differently-abled individuals in the workplace.


Quid Pro Quo harassment is a form of sexual harassment. This occurs when workplace decisions are based on an employee’s willingness to trade sexual favors for benefits in the workplace such as promotions, pay increases, preferred assignments, and more.

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Workplace harassment is broad and covers a multitude of unwelcome behaviors. These actions can include, but are not limited to any of the following:

  • Verbal
  • Written
  • Physical
  • Any action or statement targeting your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, or genetic information

Workplace harassment often crosses the line into illegality when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or intimidating work environment. This could range from offensive jokes or slurs to physical assaults and intimidation.

It’s important to remember that it’s less about the harasser’s intention, and more closely related to how the behavior is received and perceived by the recipient.

What Should I Do If I’m Harassed at Work?

Filing a harassment case in California might seem overwhelming, but knowing the steps below can make the process less daunting.

Firstly, report the harassment to your employer. This gives them the opportunity to rectify the situation and will also help you establish a record of your attempt(s) to address the problem.

If the harassment continues you may bring your complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) with a reputable attorney by your side.

By filing a complaint with the DFEH, you’re not just making a statement; you’re legally asserting your right to seek recourse.

In some cases, a harassment attorney may be able to help you negotiate with your employer to find a resolution. If this intervention doesn’t yield a satisfactory result you may take your case to court. It’s important to remember that filing a harassment case isn’t just about seeking justice. It’s also about standing up for your rights, your dignity, and your well-being.

If you have been harassed at work, whether at a current job or a past one, reach out to Colby Law Firm today. Whether you are harassed in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, or anywhere else in California, Colby Law Firm can help.

Your right to file a harassment case doesn’t end if your employment has ceased. Whether you are still employed, have quit your job, or were fired, you can still file a harassment case if you were subjected to workplace harassment.

How to File a Harassment Case

When filing a harassment claim it is important to be prepared, organized, and well represented.

  1. Document the instances during which you were harassed
  2. If you reported these instances to your employer, document the dates, who you spoke to, and the response you received
  3. If reporting the harassment to your employer did not yield positive results or cease the harassment, contact Colby Law Firm
  4. Colby Law Firm can provide you with a free case evaluation and assess your unique circumstances
  5. With your trusted attorney, you will be able to compile your documentation and instances of harassment, and if appropriate you will file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)
  6. The DFEH may mediate between you and your employer to find a resolution.
  7. If mediation doesn’t provide a resolution, you may receive a “right-to-sue” notice which means your case will go to court. If so, your attorney at Colby Law Firm can guide you through the court proceedings and represent you to the fullest extent of the law.

A harassment-free workplace isn’t just an expectation; it’s a legal right – one that you can and should fight for, if violated.

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The Deadline to File
Harassment Cases

California has specific timelines within which workplace harassment claims must be submitted. From the time the final incident of harassment takes place, you have one year to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). If the DFEH issues a “right to sue” notice, you have another year to bring your case to court. These deadlines underscore the importance of swift action. Waiting or delaying could potentially jeopardize your case.

Why Choose Colby Law Firm For Your Harassment Case in California?

Navigating the intricacies of the law in a harassment case can be complex, but an experienced California harassment lawyer can help. The team at Colby Law Firm can guide you in understanding the nuances of your case and your legal rights. We can also assist in filing an official complaint with your employer.

If the situation requires, we can further escalate the matter to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Our lawyers are adept negotiators, and can work towards securing a fair settlement. If the case ends up in court, we are your advocates, fighting diligently for the justice and compensation you rightfully deserve.

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Contact Our California Wrongful Termination Lawyers Today

Remember, workplace harassment is not just a violation of your rights; it’s an infringement on your dignity. With a knowledgeable and committed lawyer by your side, you won’t have to.

If you think you are a victim of workplace harassment, schedule a free initial case evaluation with Colby Law Firm today. Leveraging the expertise of a lawyer is a great place to start. Our attorneys are experienced in representing various types of workplace harassment cases. Contact us for help with your workplace harassment claim.


What California Says About Our Harassment Lawyers


Our Certifications Claim Our Extensive Expertise in Employment Law

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Our Certifications Claim Our Extensive Expertise in Employment Law

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Why Choose

Colby Law Firm

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Aaron Colby is a California employment lawyer who knows how to resolve disputes. After 15 years representing companies, he started Colby Law Firm to represent employees. Aaron’s perspective and experience from being “on the other side” gives him an edge. Aaron brings his practical, focused, and relentless approach to helping employees protect their rights.

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Aaron Colby
Lead Attorney and Founder Colby Law