The atmosphere of a workplace plays a huge factor in the success of a business’s employees. Many people think that a hostile work environment constitutes a bad boss, a rude coworker, or a lack of perks, benefits, and privileges. But according to the law, it can be much more than that.
A manager, boss, or coworker creates a hostile work environment when their actions, behaviors, or communications makes doing a job near impossible. Additionally, the behavior or actions need to be discriminatory in nature to constitute as hostile.
For example, a coworker who snaps her gum loudly or yells during a personal call on her cell phone does not create a hostile work environment. But a coworker who tells sexually explicit jokes is guilty of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
Legal Requirements for a Hostile Work Environment
Some of the legal requirements for a hostile work environment include:
- An employer’s or coworker’s actions or behavior that discriminate against a protected classification including sex, religion, age, race, or disability.
- The communication or behavior is pervasive and lasts over a long period of time.
- The issue becomes a significant one, affecting all coworkers, and continues over time, yet management does not investigate or address the matter appropriately or effectively.
- The actions or communications become severe. Not only do they last over a long period of time, but the hostility needs to seriously disrupt an employee’s ability to do their work.
Coping With a Hostile Work Environment
The very first thing that you need to do if you are experiencing hostility at the workplace is to ask the offending employee to stop their communication or behavior.
If you find this hard to do on your own, you should ask for help from a manager or your company’s human resources department.
You must put the offending employee on notice that their actions or communications are hostile and that their behavior will not be tolerated.
You must make HR and your manager aware of the situation. If you follow a hostile workplace lawsuit and your employer was not aware of the situation or did not have ample time to address the behavior, it could hurt your suit.
South Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate Against Hostile Work Environments
If you have experienced sexual harassment or offensive behavior or communication at work and your employer is not addressing the issue, you may need the help of an experienced South Jersey sexual harassment lawyer. Call Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation. We are located in Philadelphia and proudly represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.