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We each aspire to have a job that is not only meaningful and rewarding but also pays a wage that is fair and generous enough to support a family. The law does not guarantee this, unfortunately. But California and federal laws do guarantee a workplace free from discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation.


Seber Bulger LLP represents employees across California in cases involving:

  • Discrimination based on race, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, disability, religion immigration status, marital status, age, or national origin

  • Wrongful termination of employment due to race, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, disability, religion, immigration status, marital status, age, or national origin
  • Sexual harassment or harassment based on race, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age, or national origin
  • Retaliation for taking leaves of absence or for reporting harassment or discrimination
  • Defamation at the workplace or as a result of a wrongful termination or performance review

There are specific laws in California, such as the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), that make it an unlawful for an employer to discriminate against or harass any person based on race, ancestry, sex, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, pregnancy or other enumerated characteristics, or to retaliate against any person for challenging certain conduct.

Examples of unlawful discrimination can include the following:

  • Offensive jokes based on your sexual preference, race, disability, pregnancy, age, religion, marital status, sexuality, physical appearance or other protected characteristic
  • Treating someone who is pregnant less favorably than her colleagues
  • Being told you are too old for promotion
  • Reference to or jokes about your religion
  • Paying different salaries to equally-qualified employees in the same position
  • Dismissal or reduction in shifts
  • Denial of training opportunities, transfers and promotions
  • Exclusion or isolation by co-workers
  • Deliberate withholding of information that you need to do your job effectively
  • Being given “impossible” tasks
  • Being subjected to taunts or abuse that reference a protected characteristic
  • Refusal to hire a job applicant due to the applicant’s protected characteristic
  • Stating or suggesting preferred candidates in a job advertisement

California law also protects against workplace harassment.

Under FEHA, workplace harassment is unlawful if the harassing conduct is tied to one following protected characteristics:

  • Color
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age (40 and over)
  • Military status
  • Marital status
  • Genetic information
  • Gender
  • Sex
  • Medical condition or disability
  • National origin
  • Ancestry
  • Religion
  • Race

Sexual harassment is the most common form of workplace harassment. California law typically recognizes two forms of sexual harassment: “quid pro quo” or “hostile work environment.”

“Quid pro quo” harassment occurs when a job benefit is directly tied to an employee submitting to unwelcome sexual advances. For example, a supervisor promises an employee a raise if he or she will go out on a date with him or her, or tells an employee he or she will be fired if he or she doesn’t sleep with him or her.


In contrast, a “hostile work environment” occurs when unwelcome sexual comments or conduct unreasonably interferes with your work performance or creates an intimidating or offensive working environment. You may experience sexual harassment even if the offensive conduct was not targeted at you directly.

Examples of sexual harassment may include the following:

  • Physical contact, such as fondling or touching
  • Kissing, touching, brushing or being held
  • Obscene gestures
  • Sexually suggestive comments on your physical appearance
  • Sending sexually explicit messages in writing, or by telephone, facsimile, email or the internet

  • Unwelcome comments about your personal life or your sexual activities

  • Displaying or sending offensive materials such as pornography

  • Leering

  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons or posters

The attorneys at Seber Bulger LLP represent individuals who were fired, demoted or failed to be promoted due to workplace discrimination, retaliation or sexual harassment.

  • Past lost wages
  • Future lost wages
  • Lost benefits
  • Emotional distress damages
  • Punitive damages (to punish the company)
  • Attorneys’ fees

We also seek job reinstatement for our clients, if desired.

Signs Of Harassment

Recognizing the signs of harassment is essential for maintaining a safe and respectful workplace. Harassment can manifest in various forms, ranging from subtle to overt actions. Verbal harassment often involves unwelcome comments, jokes, or insults that can create an intimidating or hostile work environment. Physical harassment includes unwanted touching or invading personal space, which can escalate to more serious forms of physical assault. Visual harassment may involve displaying offensive images or gestures. Additionally, psychological harassment encompasses behaviors that demean, humiliate, or isolate an individual. It’s crucial to be aware of these signs and to take appropriate action, ensuring a workplace culture that promotes respect and dignity for all.

Unwanted Physical Contact

This type of harassment spans a spectrum of behaviors, all characterized by their unsolicited nature and the discomfort they cause. On the subtler end, it may include seemingly innocuous actions like brushing against someone, patting on the back, or casual hugs, which, despite their outward normalcy, are unwelcome and intrusive. This can escalate to more overtly inappropriate behaviors such as purposeful groping, cornering, or blocking someone’s path in a way that forces physical proximity. These actions are not only invasive but also communicate a disregard for personal boundaries and can lead to a deeply uncomfortable, and at times, threatening environment.

Inappropriate Remarks

This form of harassment encompasses a range of verbal behaviors that contribute to a hostile work environment. It includes comments that are sexual in nature, such as suggestive remarks, sexual innuendos, or explicit discussions about one’s physical appearance or sexual experiences. Lewd jokes or stories, particularly those that demean or objectify individuals based on gender or sexuality, also fall into this category. These remarks, whether made directly to the person or within their hearing, serve to belittle, intimidate, or sexualize the workplace inappropriately. They often create an environment that feels unsafe and unwelcoming, impacting the victim’s ability to perform and engage comfortably in their workplace.

Sexual Assault

This represents the most severe form of harassment and involves any non-consensual sexual act or attempt. Sexual assault can range from forced kissing or touching to more severe acts of sexual coercion or rape. It is characterized by the absence of consent and the use of force, threats, or manipulation to engage in sexual activity against someone’s will. This heinous violation has profound physical, emotional, and psychological impacts on the victim, creating a traumatic and deeply distressing experience. It is an egregious breach of personal autonomy and safety and is a criminal act that necessitates immediate legal intervention. Equally concerning are signs of workplace discrimination, which may coexist with harassment.

Career Stagnation

This aspect of workplace harassment is particularly insidious as it often occurs under the guise of normal professional operations. It involves consistently being bypassed for promotions, raises, or career development opportunities without a transparent, merit-based explanation. This stagnation can manifest through being denied access to high-profile projects, training programs, or any avenue that could lead to professional growth. It may also include receiving vague, nonconstructive feedback or unjust negative performance reviews that don’t align with actual work output. Such practices not only demoralize the employee but also hinder their career trajectory, potentially causing long-term professional and financial damage.

Coerced Social Interactions

This type of harassment involves pressure to engage in social activities that are uncomfortable or outside one’s professional scope, such as attending certain gatherings, dinners, or entertainment venues like bars. While these invitations may seem optional, they often come with an unspoken implication that declining them could negatively impact one’s standing or opportunities within the company. This pressure can create an environment where consent is overshadowed by the fear of professional repercussions, leading to discomfort and a sense of violation of personal boundaries. It blurs the line between professional and personal life in a way that can feel invasive and coercive.

Disproportionate Workload

This occurs when an employee is consistently given a heavier or more challenging workload than their peers in similar positions, without a justifiable reason. It can manifest as longer working hours, tighter deadlines, a higher volume of tasks, or assignments that are beyond the scope of their role and expertise. This disproportionate allocation of work often goes unrecognized and unrewarded, leading to burnout, stress, and a feeling of being undervalued. It can also be a subtle form of discrimination, where certain employees are targeted based on factors like gender, race, or age, and burdened with additional responsibilities as a form of indirect harassment.

Each of these forms of workplace harassment contributes to a toxic work environment, undermining employee morale, and well-being. They are often less overt than other types of harassment but can be equally damaging to an individual’s career and mental health. Recognizing and addressing these issues is critical in creating a fair, respectful, and inclusive workplace.

Reach Out Today

Having our skilled Beverly Hills employment lawyer can significantly impact the outcome of your case. With Seber Bulger Law‘s legal expertise, personalized approach, and unwavering dedication, we strive to provide the best possible legal representation for our clients.

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You can also contact us 24/7 at 310-363-8717

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