What is a Hostile Work Environment?

Woman under stress rubbing her eyes with her glasses off while two co workers talk behind her back

Going into work day after day can feel repetitive but should not create fear in employees. However, individuals in a hostile work environment may be experiencing just that.

A hostile work environment is when an employee experiences harassment. This can be from co-workers, managers, clients, or customers. The harassment is usually based on protected characteristics like sex, race, age, religion, and more. There are several laws designed to specifically protect these characteristics including the:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act;
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act;
  • Equal Pay Act (EPA);
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA); and,
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Examples of a Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment can look like unwelcome comments or conduct that is severe or pervasive. This type of behavior creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment.

Some examples of what hostile work environments might look like include:

  • A supervisor who makes degrading comments about an employee’s body or clothes.
  • A customer who directs racial slurs at an employee and the company does nothing.
  • A co-worker who sends explicit text messages or emails to another employee.

It’s important to note that a single incident, like the ones listed above, could be considered hostile if severe enough.

What Employees Can Do About Hostile Work Environments

Employees experiencing a hostile work environment don’t have to feel like they are fighting an uphill battle. If the employee feels comfortable enough, they could ask the person or people who are committing the acts to stop.

If that’s not an option, another step an employee can take is to talk to their supervisor or human resources department or supervisor. Companies have a legal responsibility to prevent and address hostile work environments. If they don’t take steps to fix the problem, employees may be able to file a lawsuit against the company.

Barton Mendez Soto PLLC Is Here For You

No one deserves to feel unsafe or uncomfortable at their job. If you are in a hostile work environment, the dedicated Arizona employment attorneys at Barton Mendez Soto PLLC are here for you. Reach out to us online or by phone so we can work towards a positive resolution to your legal matter. (480) 418-0668

Learn more about Work Place Harassment Here | Call Barton Mendez Soto Today

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