3 Things That May Indicate a Hostile Work Environment
What the law says about toxic workplaces
Is being rude and abrasive at work against the law?
In most cases, the answer is obviously no. There are no legal standards
that govern workplace civility.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, what if someone’s
hostility is directed only toward women or people of a certain race?
That sort of behavior may create a hostile work environment and in some
cases, it may be unlawful. In general, a hostile work environment is one
in which discrimination or harassment is so severe that it changes the
terms and conditions of a person’s or a group of people’s
Let’s take a closer look at three signs that may indicate that you’re
working in a hostile work environment.
Rude for a reason
To prove a hostile work environment, you must be able to show you were
targeted because of your inclusion in a protected class.
Protected classes may pertain to:
- national origin
- genetic information
- sexual orientation
Negative impact on job conditions
As we mentioned before, a hostile work environment requires behavior that
is more than just rude. That is, the behavior must be so severe and pervasive
that it interferes with your ability to do your job.
For example, maybe you’ve been repeatedly belittled or ridiculed
about your gender, religion, or national origin.
Or perhaps you were set up to fail, or intentionally prevented from completing
a job task.
You must make a complaint
One key element to proving a hostile work environment is that your employer
should have an opportunity to remedy the situation.
That means you have to speak up about what’s happening. File a complaint
with your human resources department or your supervisor. If you have a
company handbook, be sure to follow the procedures for making a complaint.
If the complaint is not addressed, or is inadequately addressed, you should
speak to an employment law attorney about your rights.
Contact us for a consultation now
If you believe that you’re being subjected to a hostile work environment,
it’s a good idea to seek out legal representation.
Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.