When you work inside a hostile work environment, you have options for recourse. A prerequisite for doing so is recognizing it. Ultimately, a hostile work environment is generated from continuous, unacceptable behavior that makes it impossible to do your job. That includes being trapped in a situation that inhibits your ability to advance your career. Employees and managers can create a hostile work environment through their behavior and actions.
An incompetent or ineffective boss may make your job difficult, but that alone does not meet the legal requirements for a hostile work environment. If your boss (or anyone at the company) discriminates against a protected classification, then you have one. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Here are examples of protected classifications:
- Sexual Orientation
Generally, this discrimination happens over an extended time. For example, if someone you work with makes a single sexist remark, they may face whatever consequences the company deems appropriate per their rules and regulations. That single remark is likely not going to be enough to meet the definition of a hostile work environment.
There are circumstances where a single (severe) act could create one. Examples of these would be physical or sexual assault. If the behavior is not criminal, document and report. Your company can investigate your claims and rectify the situation as necessary.
Should your employer ignore your requests for help, these should be documented—and they should not be skipped. Save the emails you send and write down who you talked to and when. You may find it challenging to win a lawsuit against your employer for creating and fostering a hostile work environment if they were unaware of its existence. Employers may take immediate action when they receive these claims.
Most businesses have employee handbooks that outline the process for reporting inappropriate behavior. Others may even provide details for what steps you can expect the company to take.
The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor
Employers who ignore your claims and continue to allow inappropriate behavior create hostile work environments—and they are breaking the law. Your ability to perform the expected components of your job is jeopardized, and your career may be threatened. When you work with The Law Offices of E. Taylor, you don’t just get an attorney; you receive an entire legal team. Contact us today to set up your free consultation.