How to Know If You Have a Hostile Work Environment
“Hostile work environment” is often misunderstood. Many believe that such an environment is when one employee dislikes another and intentionally makes their work-life miserable to the point that they quit. However, this isn’t the case.
The concept of a hostile work environment falls under the ADA, ADEA, Title VII, and any state employment discrimination laws. Meaning that, unless the alleged at-work harassment is based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age (40+), disability, or some state-protected characteristic, a hostile work environment most likely doesn’t legally exist.
A hostile work environment legally occurs when there is harsh and/or persistent conduct that a reasonable person would consider intimidating or abusive such that it impacts their way of working.
Conduct needs to be based on one of the aforementioned characteristics or done for a retaliatory reason. Typical at-work harassment includes offensive jokes, slurs, touching, threats, ridicule, and insults.
Simply being rude does not count as a hostile work environment—actions need to be sufficiently offensive.
In addition, it is important to know that even if an employee is not the direct victim of at-work harassment, even if he/she was affected by it, he/she has a right to sue an employer for creating such an environment.
Contact Our California Employment Attorney at Leichter Law Firm, APC For Free Consultation.