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What damages may you seek in response to harassment and violence?

Many people take pride in the fact that California is one of the most diverse states in the union. You would think that fact would preclude harassment and hate violence in the workplace, but sadly, many workers in the state continue to experience it.

In order to combat these deplorable actions, the state passed the Ralph Civil Rights Act to protect people from threats or acts of violence. Anyone considered the member of a class protected under the act may file a complaint seeking damages for the harm suffered at the hands of an abuser in the workplace.

You may be entitled to damages

If it turns out that you became the victim of workplace violence based on your race, gender, age or any other class protected under the act, you may qualify for compensation for the harm caused to you. If your claim successfully proves your allegations, you may receive the following damages, which you may request in your complaint:

  • Actual damages that include financial losses such as money paid out for medical care, property repair or lost wages. You may also be eligible to receive compensation for the emotional distress and suffering that often accompanies such harassment and violence.
  • The court may issue a restraining order to keep your attacker or attackers away from you. That individual or those individuals may go to jail or pay fines for violating such an order.
  • A court may order your abuser or abusers to pay you a civil penalty of $25,000 depending on the circumstances.
  • A court may award you punitive damages, which the law intends to punish your attacker or attackers for violating the law.
  • A court may also order the guilty party or parties to pay your attorney's fees accrued in connection with the lawsuit.

Hate violence and harassment include a variety of actions or behaviors that could also constitute criminal acts. California law does not tolerate the mistreatment of individuals based on certain criteria such as those mentioned above. If the actions warrant it, your abuser or abusers may face criminal charges as well, which the state will prosecute.

You may feel frightened or anxious about coming forward, but the law works to protect you. If your employer failed to resolve the issue to your satisfaction, then you have every right to go outside the company for help. You can protect yourself and your rights. Help is available if you aren't sure what those rights are and want to know what legal options you may have.

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