Hostile Work Environment
What exactly constitutes a hostile work environment?
While many employees believe that a racist boss, unpleasant work environment, rude coworker, or failure to qualify for a promotion can create a hostile work environment, a boss or co-worker who mistreats employees is the most common aspect of a hostile work environment claim. A hostile work environment is created by a boss or co-worker whose actions, communication, or behavior make doing one’s job extremely difficult. This means that their behavior altered the terms, conditions, and/or reasonable expectations of a comfortable work environment for employees and/or displays unwelcome conduct.
A hostile work environment lawsuit is essentially a discrimination claim – but it may or may not be against a protected class. If an employer experiences unwelcome conduct or feels they were discriminated against and forced to work in a hostile work environment, they must prove the way in which they were discriminated against. This could include workplace harassment based on your race, religion, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. And the harassing conduct must have been so antithetical to a healthy work environment that the actions were severe enough to be considered abuse.
When a supervisor or a co-worker’s harassing behavior negatively affects the workability of an entire workplace, it is possible that a hostile working atmosphere may exist. The federal government requires that hostile work environment laws go beyond a singular comment, but instead could involve pervasive sexual harassment, offensive conduct, sexual orientation discrimination, be a violation of the Civil Rights Act, or other pervasive incidents that create such an environment that feels unsafe for workers.
Examples of a Hostile Work Environment:
Hostile work environment laws prohibit a coworker or employer from making racial slurs or sending around emails or photos of people of color with a derogatory context. That person would be guilty of violating hostile workplace laws, be guilty of discrimination, and be guilty of creating a hostile work environment.
For example, a coworker who disturbs another by demonstrating an action like coughing too loudly or eating an especially fragrant lunch at their desk would not be considered to be creating a hostile work environment.
Another example of a hostile work environment is if a supervisor or employer verbally makes negative comments to their employees about their age, religion, or other personal traits. Even if they make the comments with a smile on their face or in a joking manner, they are still creating a hostile work environment and creating an unhealthy company culture and they can be held accountable.
Another form of a hostile work environment involves management pressuring an employee to quit after they complain about abusive workplace treatment. For example, let’s say an employee was injured while on the job and attempted to report the injury to management. If management’s solution to the injury report is to bully the claimant by pressuring them or harassing them enough so that they quit, that is another form of a hostile work environment and a violation of employment law. What’s worse? Unfortunately, that behavior can become quite common. Just because a manager doesn’t want to handle the issue effectively doesn’t mean that an employee can’t fight back by complaining to their human resources department. And in fact, they should.
And when the human resources department cannot handle the situation, a California worker should call a hostile work environment lawyer who can file a workplace harassment claim. Workplace discrimination is a violation of federal law and experienced hostile work environment attorneys know the best way to enforce federal laws to hold bully bosses accountable for their offensive comments and such behavior that is classified as hostile – including sexual harassment.
Each case is different:
The legality of inappropriate comments and behaviors must be determined on a case-by-case basis; an employee cannot file a lawsuit under a hostile work environment claim alone. That is why it is important to get a consultation from a top employment lawyer like the ones at the Lawyers for Justice, PC law firm. Our employment attorneys offer free consultations, which make’s an employee’s ability to retain legal protections easier than other law firms.
Remember: a hostile work environment case must include harassment that is severe enough to alter the condition of the claimant’s employment and create an abusive working environment.
Layers for Justice, PC employs an employment lawyer team of top harassment attorneys that know federal law inside and out so they can protect employees. We help workers build documented evidence against their direct supervisor (or the person responsible for the harassment) to strengthen their case. We know how to fight for what’s yours. We’ve recovered millions of dollars for past clients over the years and know how to win hostile work environment cases.
What type of lawyer is needed for a hostile work environment?
Various types of lawyers deal with different employee issues. However, hiring a hostile work environment attorney is the best option to win a case involving threatening workplace conditions. Sophisticated employment law attorneys know the hostile workplace rules and what to look for.
How To Prove a Hostile Work Environment Exists?
Documenting a harasser’s behavior is a wonderful option to help build a case against unlawful conduct. Examples could include a letter one received that displays race discrimination or an email message sent by a co-worker or manager or human resources professional that involves gender identity discrimination against someone with protected status. It could also include writing down statements from co-workers and documenting the date and time of the offense. These are all examples of how to gather evidence to prove unlawful conduct and that there was a violation of the law.
These types of documentation are instrumental in helping a harassment attorney prove hostile work environments exist and that legal action can be taken.
The Right to a Harassment-Free Workplace
The average American worker has worked over 95,000 hours over the past 10 years. People spend a lot of time in the workplace, so it is important that employees feel safe and free from harassment while at work. When a job detracts from the work one is supposed to accomplish there, legal options should be exercised and legal rights should be invoked to the full extent of the law.
A workplace is a place where an employee should be able to hone and develop their skills, not feel like there is harassment waiting behind every corner.
What is the Difference Between a Hostile Work Environment and a Safe Workplace?
Harassment takes many forms and each one can violate state law. A safe workplace promotes a healthy company culture where employees feel that they can accomplish their job duties in peace and – hopefully – thrive in their careers.
A hostile work environment includes behaviors that are systemic, involving harassment, and make an employee feel unsafe.
Can you sue a job for a toxic work environment?
It is possible to sue an employee of a company for harassment in the workplace. Contact a hostile work environment attorney today for more information on options. HAVE YOU EVER FELT UNSAFE AT WORK? HAVE YOU FELT DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BY YOUR EMPLOYER BECAUSE OF YOUR RACE, RELIGION, GENDER, PREGNANCY, NATIONAL ORIGIN, AGE, DISABILITY, OR GENETIC INFORMATION? IF SO, YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE TO FILE A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT LAWSUIT.