What is a Hostile Work Environment?
When a person's behavior in the workplace creates an environment that is difficult for others to work in, this can sometimes be considered a hostile work environment (HWE). This form of harassment involves severe and pervasive conduct that interferes with a person's ability to perform their duties, affecting the terms and conditions of their employment.
In order to be considered a HWE, this conduct must be made in relation to a person's race, gender, age, or other protected category. Managers are responsible for seeking and preventing this type of behavior, otherwise, they can face penalties under the Equal Employment Opportunity program.
Common Examples of a HWE
There are several different scenarios that can constitute as a hostile work environment. One of the most commonly occurring actions that can create an HWE is when a manager attempts to pressure an employee to quit in retaliation for whistleblowing or reporting safety violations. This can involve cutting hours, unfair discipline, reducing wages, or transferring a complaining worker to a different department in an effort to keep them quiet.
Repeated harassment can also create a HWE, including:
- Sexual jokes
- Suggestive remarks
- Racial slurs
- Targeted, demeaning behavior
If you have experienced any of the above, it is highly important that you document any instances of harassment and report it to your human resources department. If no meaningful actions are taken to stop the unwanted behavior, retaining legal representation is necessary.
Get Experienced Legal Help – Call (800) 265-2314
If you believe that you are being subjected to a hostile work environment, a skilled Salt Lake City employment lawyer from Haymore Law can help you pursue legal action to solve the situation. As members of the American Bar Association, our results-driven legal team can use their extensive knowledge to represent your interests in court and ensure that your rights are protected.