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What Is A Hostile Work Environment?
When you begin a job, you expect to be paid fairly and have a pleasant working environment with your bosses and employees. Unfortunately, there are some people in the workplace who use their words and behaviours to create a hostile working environment for others. Such a condition can have an impact on employee performance as well as their general psychological health. Employees who are affected may feel powerless to do so, but in fact, even management is accountable under the law.
Call Texas Personal Injury Lawyers now to discuss your situation. We can assist you in fighting the person who is responsible for establishing a hostile work environment, as well as help you increase your chances of holding them or your employer financially liable.
What Qualifies As A Hostile Work Environment?
What is a “hostile work environment” or a “hostile workplace”? What does it take to create a toxic work environment? What is the legal definition of a hostile workplace? How can you tell if your company has one? If a terrible boss isn’t enough, what exactly does the term “hostile work environment” imply?
Hostile work environment rules apply to a variety of persons. Hostile work environment laws may be violated when harassment is directed against a certain group of people at work.
For example, comments or conduct that target a person’s race, religion, gender, or disability may create a hostile work environment.
What Constitutes A Hostile Work Environment?
To be considered a hostile workplace, the behavior or conduct must satisfy certain legal requirements.
Under federal, state, and local laws, offensive conduct or intimidation must be directed at a protected category. Everyone is classified as one of these categories based on their sex, race, age, religion, or national origin.
A boss who screams at you does not satisfy the legal requirement. However, a manager that makes negative remarks about women, Blacks, Muslims, or Asians might infect the workplace even if you are not a member of one of those groups.
It’s all in the eye of the beholder, as the saying goes. In some states, a single offensive statement may be enough to establish a hostile work environment.
What Is The Legal Definition Of A Hostile Work Environment?
Complaining about a poor supervisor or terrible workplace does not give the claimant a legal basis to pursue compensation in Texas. To speak about applicable legislation, one must first comprehend what constitutes a “hostile work environment” in Texas.
A “hostile working environment” must provide the basis for a legal claim of racial prejudice, sexual harassment or other unethical behavior. As a result, one may bring a lawsuit based on a hostile working environment if the underlying cause of action is covered by statute and has an impact on something legally prohibited.
This is best clarified through examples of hostile work environments:
- A hostile work environment because of racial discrimination
- A hostile work environment because of sexual harassment
- A hostile work environment because of religious discrimination
- A hostile work environment because of discrimination based on a disability
- A hostile work environment due to retaliation to a whistleblower
- A hostile work environment in response to leave based on the Family Medical Leave Act
In conclusion, there are four important things to remember:
- The hostile environment must be so severe that one cannot perform the job;
- The hostile environment must be rooted in some form of discrimination (i.e., based on sex, gender, religion) which has a legal claim and repercussions;
- The hostile behavior must be severe and exist over a long duration; and
- A reasonable person would find it reasonable to find this behavior hostile.
What Is An Example Of A Hostile Environment?
Employee complaints about a hostile work environment are often prompted by one or more of the following: -> Examples of a hostile work environment include the following:
- A coworker repeatedly made sexual comments to another employee
- Offensive images or comments shared in the office or sent by email
- A boss taunting an employee for their religious beliefs
- A vendor who uses racial slurs
- Blocking someone from leaving their office or workspace
- A group of employees making racist or sexist jokes in the break room
- Sexual advances, unwelcome touching, or inappropriate comments on someone’s physical appearance
- Any threatening or demeaning behavior
A hostile workplace is one in which employees feel harassed, intimidated, threatened, or unwelcome. Courts must ultimately determine whether inappropriate conduct amounts to a hostile environment.
Is It Possible To Sue My Employer For Creating A Hostile Work Environment?
Yes, you can sue your employer if they created a hostile work environment. Employees have the right to pursue their profession free from misconduct.
Keep in mind that it’s not just your employer who can create a hostile work environment. A co-worker, a manager in another department, and even non-employees such as vendors might contribute to a poisonous atmosphere.
However, to file a lawsuit, you must first ensure that your workplace fulfills the legal definition of a hostile environment. Offensive behavior must be directed at a protected group in order to qualify as unlawful.
For example, remarks against a religion, gender, race, national origin, or disability status are illegal.
Is It Possible For An Independent Contractor To Pursue A Claim Of Hostile Work Environment?
Unfortunately, the law regarding hostile work environment protections for independent contractors or freelancers is more difficult. While employment rules apply to regular employees in each state, they do not extend to independent contractors in all states.
However, some freelance workers may be able to sue for a hostile work environment.
What Actions Constitute A Hostile Work Environment?
You might be wondering whether the actions you’ve seen qualify as a toxic work environment. Are bosses allowed to scream at you?
Offensive acts must have a negative impact on the victim’s ability to work effectively and must target a protected group, according to law. In each case, courts must evaluate which behaviors foster a hostile work environment.
A hostile workplace can be established through sexually explicit pictures or remarks, racial insults, or religious-based bullying.
However, even severe animosity directed at a non-protected group does not qualify as sufficient for a hostile work environment lawsuit.
Are You Working In A Hostile Work Environment?
Contact Texas Hostile Work Environment Lawyers if you are working in a hostile work environment. One of our knowledgeable lawyers will assist you with valuable legal advice throughout your case. We advise our clients on the legal criteria involved in workplace violation claims.
Call our legal team immediately at (888) 997-2148 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced hostile work environment lawyers and it will be your initial step toward receiving fair and just compensation. We take cases on a contingency fee basis and there are no costs unless we win, and the consultation is completely free.