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Ask an Employment Law Attorney: What Does the Law Consider to Be a Hostile Work Environment?

Ask an Employment Law Attorney: What Does the Law Consider to Be a Hostile Work Environment?

Ask an Employment Law Attorney: What Does the Law Consider to Be a Hostile Work Environment?

Many workers have heard the phrase “hostile work environment” from television shows, newspapers, or other popular culture sources. But what does this actually mean? Do you merely dislike a coworker’s behavior, or is there a deeper issue at play? How can you demonstrate that a workplace was hostile?

Something more than disliking how your coworkers behave is required for a hostile workplace. It must involve egregious and widespread misbehavior. These activities must have been taken because of anything about the protected party in order to succeed in a harassment claim. Contact a California harassment lawyer to explore your claim if you feel that you have been harassed at work and are working in a hostile and abusive environment.

What exactly is a hostile workplace?

Even though many actions or behaviors may appear hostile, only conduct that is motivated by a person’s protected status counts as such. Additionally, the actions or statements need to be harsh, widespread, and prolonged.

Any trait that the law recognizes as an unlawful justification for discrimination is referred to as a protected class. This comprises a person’s age, gender, race, and/or religion. It may also encompass a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity in some states or communities, including California.

A hostile work environment may result from misconduct that is based on any of these traits. For instance, it may be criminal harassment or discrimination if a coworker frequently criticizes the Mormon church to or in front of a Mormon employee because the remarks are being made regarding a protected class: religion. For the purposes of a lawsuit, though, it wouldn’t count as harassment or discrimination if the remarks were made about something other than a protected class, such the shoes someone is wearing.

Persistence is required to consider a space a hostile work environment

The behavior must be persistent in order for the workplace to be considered hostile. For a lawsuit to be successful, it must be significant or severe, occur frequently over time, and management must be unwilling to adequately handle it. This means that you should notify human resources if you experience harassment at work. It may serve as the basis for a harassment lawsuit against the company if they do not take anything to stop the harassing coworker.

When the alleged harassment was an isolated incidence, a hostile workplace is uncommon. A person’s ability to execute their work or advance in their career must be adversely affected by the behavior, which must occur more than once or twice. For example, a worker might not get promoted because she won’t work a particular shift if she knows the males on that shift will make comments about her body or her sex life if she is there, for instance.

That would be an illustration of a hostile workplace that had an effect on a person’s career. However, if the harassment makes it impossible for you to do your job effectively, it may still constitute a hostile work environment even if you still get promoted or receive a bonus. A harassment claim may have merit if you dread going to work every day out of fear that one of your coworkers will make a racial remark and you suffer psychological repercussions as a result.

Contact us now if you believe are dealing with a hostile work environment

Informing your employer and giving them a chance to fix the situation should be your first move if you feel that your workplace is unfriendly. The harassment, your notice to your supervisor, and any actions they take to address it should all be documented. Contact PLBSH right away at (800) 435-7542 or info@plbsh.com if nothing changes.

Any anyone who has been harassed or is dealing with a toxic work environment can get excellent legal counsel from our skilled California harassment attorneys. For all potential clients, we provide complimentary introductory consultations. Contact us now to get started.

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