Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees are provided certain protections against harassment at work. This includes having to perform their jobs in a hostile work environment. If a coworker, multiple coworkers, a supervisor, or the employer engage in any type of harassment, including sexual harassment, you can hold them accountable by filing a hostile work environment lawsuit. Our Dayton hostile work environment attorneys here at Coffman Legal, LLC can help you gather evidence and file a claim for damages.
A hostile work environment is one in which harassment by coworkers, supervisors, contractors, or customers creates an environment that “a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive,” according to the Department of Labor. Furthermore, the harassing conduct must be based on the victim’s protected status. Examples of protected status include the employee’s real or perceived: Race; Color; Religion; National origin; Disability; Sex, including LGBTQ status; Pregnancy status; Age if over 40; and Military status. As such, in order for a hostile work environment to exist, the harassment must be based on one of these traits. Furthermore, the harassment must be “subjectively abusive to the person affected.” Minor slights generally do not constitute a hostile work environment. Even one-off racial or sexist slurs may not constitute a hostile work environment. There must be pervasive or severe harassment in order for a claim to be successful. An attorney can help you determine whether or not the harassment that you have experienced qualifies as a hostile work environment.
Employers have an obligation to quickly put a stop to any harassment caused by employees, customers, or contractors. Even if an employer or supervisor did not engage directly in harassment themselves, they can be held liable by allowing the hostile work environment to fester. Examples of workplace harassment based on a protected trait include: Unwanted sexual advances; Unwanted physical contact; Talking about an employee’s physical attributes; Discussing inappropriate sexual content; Off color jokes about race, religion, sex, or sexual preference; Emailing or sharing sexual / inappropriate content, jokes, images, or links; Yelling at an employee or using indecent gestures; Crude language; Physically harming or intimidating an employee; Intentionally harming an employee’s work; Making fun of an employee’s religion or cultural practices; and Baring If an employer or supervisor makes any negative employment decision based on an employee’s protected trait, such as firing or demoting the employee, you can file a harassment claim, which may be easier to prove, instead of a hostile work environment claim.
Often, employers unlawfully retaliate when a victim speaks up. In fact, one study found that 75 percent of workplace harassment victims experienced retaliation by their employers after coming forward, according to Vox. As such, simply discussing the harassment with your supervisor generally does not solve the issue. For real results, you need to work with a Dayton hostile work environment attorney. Our attorneys at Coffman Legal, LLC have successfully handled countless employment claims of all types, and can provide you with a sense of relief starting today. Call us at 614-949-1181 to schedule a free consultation.