We have often discussed how a hostile work environment is one of the possible ways that someone can be sexually harassed. This might have some of our California readers wondering what exactly constitutes a hostile work environment. Knowing how this is classified can help you determine if you have been a victim of a hostile workplace.
A hostile workplace occurs when the conduct of others continually affects your ability to perform your job duties satisfactorily. Generally, the actions of another that are causing the hostile work environment will be pervasive and severe. They will often seem to take over the workplace.
It is important to know that a hostile work environment isn’t limited only to sexual harassment actions. The work environment might be made hostile on the basis of a person’s religion, sexual orientation, color, national origin, race, sex, disability or age. In all of those cases, the hostile work environment is illegal.
Managers and business owners are responsible for ensuring that all instances of a hostile workplace are addressed. You aren’t required to deal with the hostile actions or harassment. The people in charge of the business must put a stop to these unlawful actions. If that doesn’t happen, you might decide to move forward with complaints and other actions.
Even if the employer addresses the hostile work environment, you still have the right to file a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is only one option you have. Understanding all your options can help you to make an informed decision, so contact someone who is familiar with hostile workplace laws to learn about your options.
Source: U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Managment, “Hostile Work Environment” accessed Jan. 29, 2015