Hostile Work Environment Attorneys in Irvine
Helping Our Clients Protect Their Rights & Interests in the Workplace
If you have been mistreated in the workplace, harassed, or feel unsafe when you go to work, Badame Law Group can help. We work to hold employers responsible for allowing the hostile work environment to continue, especially after incidents have been reported.
What is a Hostile Work Environment?
In employment law, there are many situations that fall under the category of a hostile work environment. Simply put, a hostile work environment is one in which an employee is being harassed or feels intimidated or threatened. This can be because of a supervisor, employer, or co-worker.
There are three main types of behavior which a hostile work environment can fall into which are:
- Discrimination based on a protected class (such as race or gender)
- Offensive conduct, such as causing offense to a reasonable person
- Sexual harassment, including behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks.
Examples of behavior in a hostile work environment, include:
- Ethnic or racial slurs
- Unwanted touching
- Rude jokes or gestures
- Leering and unwanted advances
- Putting offensive content on display
- Vulgar statements or jokes
- Requesting sexual favors
- Demanding sexual quid pro quos
- Jokes about someone's religion/age
- Mocking someone's disability
How to Prove a Hostile Work Environment
An offhand remark or annoying behavior from coworkers does not necessarily rise to the legal definition of a hostile work environment.
To qualify as a hostile work environment under the law, the harassing behavior must:
- Be discriminatory in nature, against a federal protected classification
- Be pervasive, or lasting over a period of time
- Be severe, to the point of disrupting the employee's ability to work
- Be reasonably known by the employer, and the employer does not sufficiently intervene
To prove you are working in a hostile work environment, make sure to keep all communications regarding your situation. This means any emails, voicemails, memos, letters, etc. that contain harassing language. This also includes any communication between you and your supervisor or Human Resources (HR) informing them of the incident(s).
Keep in mind that communication is not limited to the workplace or work hours. Any unwelcome communication you receive at home or outside work hours is still relevant. Such communication can also show how extensive the harassment may be.
Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws
Be aware that if your hostile work environment is tied to discrimination, federal anti-discrimination laws do not apply to all employers. An employer must have at least 15 or more employees, or 20 employees if age discrimination is part of the allegation. If your employer is not covered by federal law, they may be covered by state law instead.
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