Hostile Work Environment
The Boyd Law Group’s employment lawyers are experienced at helping workers suffering under a hostile work environment those who are victims of workplace discrimination, retaliation and/or harassment. A hostile work environment is created when the discrimination or retaliation you are enduring is so frequent or extreme that it becomes legally actionable. This discrimination and harassment might include unlawful conduct based upon your race, color, religion, sex (and/or pregnancy), national origin, age, sexual orientation or disability. Hostile work environments can ultimately lead to wrongful termination, or other serious deprivation of an employee’s rights in the workplace.
Proving a hostile work environment requires establishing a significant series of acts (or limited but severe acts) which together negatively impact an employee’s employment environment and chances for success. Evidence of a hostile work environment can include (but is not limited to):
- constant offensive jokes, mockery, slurs
- physical or verbal assaults or threats, put-downs, insults, intimidation
- display of offensive photographs or images
- overall interference with the targeted employee’s work performance or employment reviews
The harassment will be deemed unlawful when it is so enduring and constant that it becomes a condition of continued employment; or the conduct is deemed so “severe and pervasive” as to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider abusive, hostile or intimidating. A hostile work environment may keep you from being able to perform your job duties and can even make you fear for your safety. Isolated incidents are unlikely to prove a hostile work environment unless the incident(s) are gravely serious or offensive and you should keep in mind that the standards for analysis can vary depending upon your jurisdiction.
Anyone in the workplace, including employees who are not supervisors, may contribute to a hostile work environment. It is a common misconception that a hostile work environment can only be created by a supervisor. This is not the case. Your fellow co-workers, independent contractors and your employer’s clients can also create an abusive work environment, and if your employer will not help, they may be liable.
If you feel that you are being subjected to a hostile work environment there are legal time limitations you must be aware of to ensure that your case can be heard and you should confer with counsel about them. You may want to report the harassing behavior to your employer and you may be best able to coordinate with counsel if you start by taking notes on all of the events happening around you and their dates of occurrence. Be sure to review your employer’s handbook for the company policy regarding harassment as well.
If you believe you are enduring a hostile workplace or have any questions about your current workplace or legal options please contact us for a free case evaluation. You can reach one of our experienced hostile work environment discrimination attorneys at (800) 617-4254 or by filling out our form on our Contact Us page.