What is a Hostile Work Environment?
If you have a job, you may have heard the term “hostile work environment” but could be unsure of what this ‘environment’ truly is. Traditionally, a hostile work environment is considered any job or work environment where a coworker or boss partakes in actions that make doing the job nearly impossible. These can be seen in behavior, communication, or general actions taken by the individual, and they tend to be discriminatory in nature. This could cause you, or others, to feel unwelcome based upon gender, race, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, or other legally protected characteristics of human nature. It’s important to recognize that hostile work environments are forms of harassment and should not be tolerated. If you or someone you know is dealing with workplace hostility, it’s vital to take action against the employer or employee to protect others’ safety and comfort.
Examples of a Hostile Work Environment
As mentioned previously, a hostile work environment can manifest in a multitude of ways. Such ways include through discrimination of gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, age, disability, genetics, or more.
One common example of workplace hostility can be name calling or the telling of offensive jokes. These, though may seem playful to the joker, are often received as offensive to the one being joked about. Another example of hostility could be seen in sexual harassment. This is where an individual makes unwanted advancements, whether physical or verbal, towards another worker. Regardless of the type of harassment, the issue should not go unresolved. If you feel threatened or uncomfortable in any situation involving another employee at your job, it must be addressed.
The Laws of Hostile Work Environments
If you or someone you know is a victim of a hostile work environment, it’s easy to feel confused or stuck in the position. However, there are laws to protect you and ensure your safety. The first step you should take in addressing the harassment or hostile environment should be going directly to a supervisor. This is because the employer is directly responsible and liable for the harassment of both supervisory and non-supervisory employees.
These rules came about due to the official U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission being established in 1965. Whenever you are working a job, regardless of the type or position you hold, you are covered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This commission, otherwise known as the abbreviated EEOC, handles any situations related to hostile work environment. When there is a hostile workplace issue at hand, the EEOC will investigate the situation by looking into the entire record of conduct, and context. On a case by case basis, the EEOC will determine whether the harassment or hostility is severe enough to be considered illegal.
Other Steps to Take
Just because the employer and the EEOC takes action doesn’t mean the result will be as you’ve desired. For example, sometimes there is a lack of sufficient evidence to prove fault, thus disallowing the EEOC to deem the hostile environment as illegal. If this is the case, you can hire your own lawyer to handle the situation. This way not only are you taking matters into your own hands, but this way you can feel like you’ve done everything possible to state your case. Hiring a lawyer is an essential step to claiming harassment in the workplace, especially when fault of legality is not assumed throughout investigations.
Contact An Experienced Rochester Employment Lawyer Today
If you or someone you know is struggling with workplace harassment or a hostile workplace environment, there is more you can do. Instead of ignoring the issue at hand, standing up for yourself can make a huge difference. Everybody deserves happiness, comfort, and stability in their lives. If you’re ready to take action against your hostile work environment, the Cimino Law Firm is here to help. We can discuss a course of action and help you through the legal process. Be sure to contact us today in order to find justice in your job.
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