Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.
Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality.
To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.
A determination of whether harassment is severe or pervasive enough to be illegal is made on a case-by-case basis.
If you believe that the harassment you are experiencing or witnessing is of a specifically sexual nature, you may want to see EEOC's information on sexual harassment.
The employer will be liable for harassment by non-supervisory employees or non-employees over whom it has control (e.g., independent contractors or customers on the premises), if it knew, or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action.
When investigating allegations of harassment, the EEOC looks at the entire record: including the nature of the conduct, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.
Everyone in California is familiar with the concept of harassment or discrimination to varying degrees; some forms are so blatant, that everyone knows harassment or discrimination is occurring.
However, there are insidious forms of harassment that most people don’t identify – this form of harassment is known as a “hostile work environment.” Unlike sexual harassment claims, in which a plaintiff can state a cause of action under a theory of either quid pro quo or “hostile work environment”, claims of harassment on other bases involve only the “hostile work environment” theory.
In order to make a claim for “hostile work environment”, the Plaintiff must show: (1) You were a member of a protected class, (2) you were subject to unwanted harassment or discrimination, (3) the harassment or discrimination was based on your membership of a protected class, (4) the harassment or discrimination unreasonably interfered with your work performance by creating an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment, and (5) the employer is responsible for that harassment or discrimination.