Every day, somewhere in the United States, employees are subjected to different degrees of inappropriate and or unwelcome conduct in their place of work. Situations could involve getting bullied by a coworker or manager, hearing repeated rumors and lies being spread, or witnessing verbal and or physical abuse. When someone in the workplace facilitates forms of discriminatory harassment towards one or more employees, they are creating, promoting, and or hosting a hostile work environment.
Although any form of harassment should not occur, if negative behavior or action exists at a place of work and it is not severe enough to cause a hostile work environment, in the eyes of the law it is not classified as illegal. An example of this would be a rude supervisor; unless the supervisor is violating an employee’s rights, protected classes, or creating a hostile work environment that interferes with people executing their job responsibilities, from a legal standpoint, they are not at fault. This can be confusing for many employees dealing with tense managers or colleagues; however, it is important to distinguish impolite behaviors and actions from illegal ones.
A hostile work environment can be made up of different types of harassment, including sexual harassment, religious discrimination, age, gender, and racial discrimination, and even physical or verbal harassment. Prevention is the best tool for eliminating bullying and harassment. It is the employer’s responsibility to establish a protocol for reporting any behavior that would constitute a hostile work environment. Additionally, victims of a hostile work environment are not the only ones who suffer; witnesses can experience hardships as a result as well, and it is highly encouraged that employees report any incident of a hostile work environment to their HR department immediately.
Keep thorough documentation of all incidents, whether they are in the process of being resolved or not. Gathering evidence like emails, text messages, recordings, and other factual exhibits is always key to a strong claim, as it is better to be well prepared if things advance to more serious means of resolve.
An employee who is a victim of a hostile work environment has 180 days to file a charge with the EEOC, which may be extended by state laws. Federal employees have 45 days to contact an EEO counselor.
To qualify for a hostile work environment claim, an employee must work or have worked for an employer with 15 or more employees under Title VII and the ADA, and 20 or more employees under the ADEA.
The above is intended as a general guide to better understand potential claims against employers with respect to hostile work environments. Your claims may be time sensitive and we encourage you to complete our free case evaluation request to increase the chance of meeting deadlines for filing your claim. Employment attorneys at Spielberger Law Group are passionate about employment law and are true advocates of employees whose rights have been violated.
Once you’ve completed our free case evaluation form, an employment lawyer licensed to practice employment law in your state will review your statements and you will be contacted by our firm after determining whether you have claims to pursue. Do not miss your opportunity to bring justice to your workplace, contact us today for the chance to receive the best recovery possible.