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Hostile Work Environment Lawyer

hostile work environment

Federal and State employment laws protect employees from working in a hostile environment. If you believe you are or have been subject to a hostile work environment, you may be entitled to compensation including emotional distress damages, and punitive damages, under federal and state laws. Learn more about what constitutes a legally hostile work environment:

The Legal Definition of a Hostile Work Environment

There are many ways that a work environment could feel hostile. For example, if your boss is a bully who yells at their employees, you may feel that your workplace is hostile. Legally however, this workplace may not be considered hostile.

Under Federal and State hostile work environment laws, a hostile environment occurs when there is discrimination and or harassment on the basis of a protected class that is severe or pervasive.

Discrimination is the differential or unfavorable treatment of employees based on their membership in a protected class. Differential or unfavorable treatment in the workplace could impact hiring, pay, benefits, workplace opportunities, performance reviews, physical or verbal treatment, assignments, and firing.

Harassment is the use of slurs, jokes, or offensive comments regarding one’s membership in a protected class.

Protected classes in California include (but are not limited to): race, color, religion, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, medical condition, military or veteran status, national origin, ancestry, disability, genetic information, medical condition, request for family care leave, request for leave for employee’s own serious health condition, request for pregnancy disability leave, and age (over 40)

Severe or Pervasive: Discrimination and harassment create a hostile environment when they are severe and or pervasive. Discrimination and harassment is considered severe if it is egregious to the point that one occurrence of the harassing behavior makes the environment hostile and unsafe. Discrimination and harassment is considered pervasive if it occurs repeatedly, so as to create an unsafe and hostile workplace environment.

If you work remotely, the legal standard for proving a hostile work environment remains the same. Although you have less face to face interaction with coworkers, you may experience a hostile work environment in a remote office space.

Employer Retaliation

The law protects employees who report unlawful hostile work environments. If you make a complaint of hostile work environment to your employer, resist a hostile work environment, or participate as a witness in a hostile work environment complaint made by a co-worker, your employer may not treat you unfavorable as a result. If your employer has treated you differently because you reported or resisting any form of hostile work environment, your employer has retaliated against you and broken the law.

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If you are Experiencing Discrimination or Retaliation at Work

If you have experienced discrimination and or retaliation at work, you may be entitled to compensation including emotional distress damages, and punitive damages, under federal and state laws. Take the following steps to support your case:

Save Evidence: Record all relevant events or interactions in writing. Save related emails, notes, and documents.

Report the Discrimination: Report the discrimination directly to your employer. If your employer does not correct their behavior, you may file a complaint with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (if your employer has more than 15 employees) or with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) (if your employer has more than 5 employees). There is a 300-day deadline to file with the EEOC and a 3-year deadline to file with the DFEH.

Find an Attorney: Reach out to an employment attorney.


Do not let Navruz's gentle demeanor fool you - she is an absolute bulldog litigator who will stop at nothing to make sure her client's interests are zealously represented. I routinely turn to Navruz for any discrimination-related issues in my work comp cases, and her command of this area of law is top notch. I have no reservations recommending Navruz as an attorney.

Lael Abaya

My experience with Avloni Law was the best I could have asked for. Rather than speaking with a case manager, I spoke directly with attorney, Navruz, who was incredibly efficient, diligent and informative, all while maintaining empathy and kindness. After our intake phone conversation, she did not delay in sending me a checklist of documentation to assemble, and was available to answer my questions. She speedily informed me she couldn't take on the case since it involves Tribal Law, however, she didn't leave me hanging. Instead, she sent me a list of attorneys who could assist. To reiterate, while my interactions with Navruz were brief, it's obvious she's thorough and knowledgeable. I was incredibly impressed with her qualifications (including her studies in rhetoric, which I'd imagine would help persuade and build a case) and several honors and awards. I spoke to many law firms and Avloni stood out most due to Navruz's expertise and client follow-up. Don't hesitate in contacting Avloni Law.

Ryan Shannon

Navruz was a godsend when my tech startup employer discriminated & retaliated against me. She explained the process so smoothly and was very responsive. I don't have a ton of experience working with attorneys, but she's the absolute best I've ever worked with and can't imagine meeting anyone better. Each time I would present a new situation or ask a question she was prompt to reply and offer a phone conversation to ensure I understood and could make the best decisions for my case. Although the experience with my employer was brutal, I'd love nothing more than to be able to work with her again. True blessing of a human-being. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Tessa K

Working with Nav has been inspiring to say the least. As a fellow member of the San Anselmo Racial Equity Committee, she brings her knowledge as a highly skilled civil rights attorney, along with her strong commitment to addressing equity issues in our town. She is hard working, patient, understanding and always willing to listen, grow and learn. Her contributions to this committee and community have been invaluable.

Tiffany M

I need an advise regarding my unemployment case. Avloni Law helped me with understanding the basics and professionally corrected the wording in my appeal statement. Everything went smooth! Highly recommend!

Maria Gushchina

Navruz is an intelligent, dedicated, and talented attorney.

Kyle Morishita

I have had a pleasure of knowing Navruz for quite a while. I definitely recommend her as a hardworking and highly skilled attorney in the area of employment law, especially wrongful termination and harassment. She is passionate about her cases and she cares about her clients.

Alexei Kuchinsky

I have had the pleasure of knowing Navruz for over seven years. She is extremely diligent, smart, and knowledgeable in labor and employment law. Any client represented by Navruz is, without question, very well-represented! I endorse her without qualification!

Ryan Cadry

Navruz is a strong and knowledgeable attorney whose passion for her work is evidenced by effective results.

Maria Crabtree

Navruz Avloni has been my employment law attorney years. Her attention to detail, research and resources, and sincerity in her work are unparalleled. She has given me exceptional employment law advice on multiple occasions. I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone looking for an excellent employment law attorney.


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Avloni Law is a law firm dedicated to fighting for your right to a workplace free of unlawful discrimination and harassment. Navruz Avloni is an experienced hostile work environment attorney and has successfully represented numerous clients. Click here schedule a free consultation with Navruz Avloni.

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