Legal Question in Employment Law in California

llo, I Have A Question Which Originates In The State Of California. My Employer Regularly Posts Flyers In My Break Room Where I Eat Of Religious Nature. These Posters Are Condemning Me To Hell For Not Being A Christian. It Makes It Hard To Eat, N I Get Upset. I Was Wondering If I Can Ask Them To Stop? I Don't Want TRouble, Just To Be Left Alone While I Break. They Are Very Religious And I'm Afraid To Say Anything. It Is A Large (400 Employee) Ambulance Company. I Admit, I've Taken One Down Before, However It Was Up Again For My Next Shift. Please And Thank You. Also They ARe Very Sexist, AND Hired Me Because I'm Female. The OwnerTold Me So When He InterviewEd Me. Sorry For The Random Caps Lock, I'm Writing This On A Picky Cell Phone.

Asked on 5/22/13, 8:28 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Kristine Karila Law Office of Kristine S. Karila

I understand your frustruation and you have legal rights to not be harassed at work because of your or someone else's religious beliefs. The harassment, however, must be either severe or pervasive. If your employer or anyone else comments about religion, tries to get you to change your beliefs, etc., the conduct may very well be pervasive. I would even argue that hanging the inappropriate flyers in the office is pervasive. I suggest that you contact an employment law attorney to write a letter to the company advising of their violation of harassment laws. In addition, if you ask that the religious material not be displayed, etc., and they retaliate against you because of your request by firing you, demoting you, etc. you may then have a good case of wrongful termination, unlawful harassment, retaliation, etc. 949-481-6909.

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Answered on 5/23/13, 9:03 am
David Sarnoff Sarnoff + Sarnoff

I agree with everything Ms. Karila stated, but would actually answer your specific question a bit more emphatically. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA") prohibits employers from discriminating against or harassing employees on the basis of religion and/or gender, among other protected characteristics or categories. The FEHA also prohibits retaliation against employees who make protected complaints about discrimination and/or harassment, so long as the employee has a reasonable belief that such discrimination and/or harassment is actually occurring in the workplace.

To answer your question, based on what you have described, I believe that if you were to ask your employer to remove the flyers, that would constitute a protected complaint, and any further discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation against you would be a violation of the law. That is not to say that your employer won't retaliate against you for complaining about the flyers, just that it is my belief that if they do take adverse action against you because of your complaint to them about the flyers, you would potentially have a lawsuit for unlawful discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation.

If you want further information, please feel free to contact my law firm at (877) 877-2545, or you can visit our website at www.sarnofflaw.com and complete our Confidential Online Case Evaluation Questionnaire.

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Answered on 5/23/13, 9:26 am
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

Employers are not supposed to create a hostile workplace environment, and your perception of the 'harassment' is the important issue, as long as your reaction is 'reasonable' under the circumstances. Your remedies include making a formal objection and request for correction to the company, or having an attorney do it for you. You could file a Complaint with the Dept of Fair Employment and Housing, or with EEOC, and can have an attorney assist you. Ultimately you could file suit if the facts and law support you.

Feel free to contact me for assistance or at least a consultation if serious about this. I've been doing these cases for many years.

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Answered on 5/23/13, 11:00 am


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