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Hostile Work Environment

Hostile Work Environment

Some employees suffer through painful experiences in the workplace. These experiences range from sexual harassment to racial discrimination. A hostile work environment can prevent employees from effectively performing their duties. Besides that, a hostile work environment can have emotional effects such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The threshold of a hostile work environment

Not all harassment at work rises to the level of a hostile workplace. Some petty provocations and isolated conflicts do not make a workplace hostile according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). A hostile workplace is a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating and offensive.

Persistent harassment bias based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, and sexual orientation tends to create a hostile workplace. A workplace discrimination lawyer can help you understand and take the proper steps to address hostile workplace conditions. The laws below all offer protections for hostile workplaces:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  • The California Fair Employment and Housing Act

In addition to that, courts use the following criteria to determine whether a workplace is hostile:

  • Whether the reported acts are recurrent and offensive;
  • Whether the reported acts are severe enough to interfere with the employee’s work or career growth
  • Whether the employer acts swiftly when harassment incidents are reported to them. If the employer acted negligently, they will be held liable and
  • Whether the victim(s) had to tolerate acts of harassment to keep their jobs.

It is essential to consult an employment discrimination attorney in California. The attorney will help you determine if the harassment you have suffered meets the threshold of a hostile work environment. Examples of wrongs that make workplaces hostile are:

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment includes unsolicited sexual advances, sexual verbal utterances and physical actions, and requests for sexual favors. You may be required to prove that the sexual harassment was severe, frequent, and pervasive enough to render the workplace hostile.

Indirect harassment

Indirect harassment is when an employee is affected by the harassment of another person. An example of indirect harassment is when an employee is uncertain of their job stability due to a fellow coworker’s unfair dismissal.
Employer harassment policies

The court may find the employer liable if the employer was aware of the acts of harassment in the workplace and failed to take appropriate remedial actions. Furthermore, if the employer’s policies lead to harassment, they may be held liable.

Other factors that make workplaces hostile are:

  • Racism at work
  • Ridicule, slurs, and insults
  • Offensive jokes
  • Threats and physical assaul
  • Interference with one’s duties and
  • Offensive pictures

What should you do if your workplace is hostile?

If you experience harassment at work, you should first report the offenders, in writing if possible. Make sure you report the actions to your employer, again preferably in writing. Let your employer know that you will not stand for the harassment or allow it to persist.

Keep a record or journal of all the instances that have made you feel that your workplace is a hostile work environment and your responses to these instances. Be sure to note the dates, facts, and all involved parties.

If your employer’s internal mechanisms do not provide a satisfactory solution, it is time to consult a California harassment and discrimination lawyer. Your lawyer will help you gather all the necessary facts and evidence to establish whether the harassment amounts to a hostile work environment lawsuit.

Will you be fired after reporting a hostile work environment?

All employees in California have rights that protect them from retaliation when they speak up or take legal action against their employer. If you are a victim of workplace harassment, you should not worry about retaliation in speaking up against a hostile work environment.

Contact the Employment Attorneys at West Coast Employment Lawyers

At West Coast Employment Lawyers, we understand the predicaments that employees go through and are sympathetic to employees who are victims of hostile work environments. We are here to help, and we will handle your hostile workplace lawsuit swiftly from start to finish.

Our accomplished hostile workplace attorneys have extensive experience in handling cases like yours. Contact our friendly legal team for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 213-927-3700. We take all cases on a contingency basis, so you only pay if we win your case

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