A hostile work environment is used to describe a severe and recurring situation at your job that can be discriminatory, offensive, and detrimental to your employment and health. It usually stems from a small, unwanted situation or behavior from an employer, coworker, or even non-employees, and can lead to poor work productivity.
There are several situations that define a hostile work environment. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a hostile work environment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. Simply put, it can be a workplace discrimination against one of many protected legal classes. The EEOC adds that it is enduring offensive conduct that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
Signs to Watch Out For
There are many legal requirements a work environment must meet to be deemed hostile. It is not a single, isolated occurrence, though it can originate from one. It also does not necessarily have to be from the inflicted party as well; an observer that sees this poor behavior can report it or suffer from it. It also can be caused by a range of people influencing your work. Additionally, there are other things to look out for that can create a hostile work environment, including:
- Long hours and severe schedules: When an employee cannot properly rest, then their mental and physical health suffers. Highly stressful work conditions can create a combative situation.
- Any form of discrimination or intimidation: Any discriminatory behavior because of one’s sex, race, age, or any other legal social classification is a hostile work environment. Any verbal or physical intimidation or bullying is also seen as such.
- Lack of growth opportunities: A workplace that frowns upon job growth or one that prohibits an employer to be promoted or more successful is detrimental and can create an environment that would make one stop working. Also, any ongoing practices that prevent a promotion would be considered hostile behavior.
- Any form of harassment: An ongoing situation that is offensive or unwanted, and prevents one from performing their job successfully, is illegal and hostile. This can also include crude behavior and jokes, such as an offensive email or text message.
Handling a Hostile Work Environment
A hostile work environment must be reported to your supervisor or human resources department, even if it is caused by that supervisor or boss. Legally, they must have the chance to address and correct the situation. Normally, reporting the situation will correct the issue, as employers look to prevent all instances that can harm their company. One should document all events and instances of the issue, and if it is not addressed or corrected by your employer, then legal representation is highly recommended.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Those Suffering in a Hostile Work Environment
If you are employed and suffer from a hostile work environment, and it has prevented you from performing your job to the best of your ability, then it is important that you contact the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey.