Do you work from home but still feel like you are experiencing offensive conduct that is either threatening or abusive in nature? Are you wondering if you can file a lawsuit for hostile work environment even though you are a remote worker? Below, our experienced employment law attorneys explain what remote workers need to know about filing a lawsuit for hostile work environment.
Does It Make a Difference If I Work from Home?
Whether you work in an office building or remotely from your house, the legal standard for a hostile work environment is the same.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a hostile work environment arises if there is pervasively or severely offensive conduct based on a person’s sex, race, religion, national origin, disability, or another legally protected status in the workplace.
Objectionable behavior that is less severe must occur frequently to constitute a hostile workplace, while certain types of behaviors that are severe and egregious only need to occur once to be considered a hostile workplace because the environment is intimidating or offensive to a reasonable person.
Although you might not have as many face-to-face interactions if you are working from home, you can still experience mistreatment from your coworkers or superiors via chat, text, or video applications. Unlawful harassment becomes digital when a remote employee is subjected to unwelcome conduct online.
Common examples of hostile behaviors that occur online include:
- Offensive jokes in chats or emails
- Using racial or sexual innuendo in messages or other types of company communications
- Distributing inappropriate photos, gifs, or memes
- Subjecting an employee to ridicule by tampering with their profile picture
- Excluding and employee by intentionally muting them during web conferences
How Do Remote Employees Prove Their Work Environment Is Hostile?
In order to prove that your remote work environment is hostile, you must prove that a reasonable person would feel threatened or abused by the offensive conduct you experience or have been forced to endure.
You will need to gather evidence that can show the hostile behavior affected your work performance. Because hostile environment evidence is generally based on conflicting accounts of what occurred, it’s important to document as much of the questionable behavior as you can. This can be done by keeping records of electronic interactions through screenshots or recordings.
If you are a remote worker and you feel like you are being mistreated in the workplace, please get in touch with our seasoned legal team at Badame Law Group, APC so we can put our skills to work for you. Call (949) 393-4249 or contact us online for a case consultation.