Hostile Work Environment
There aren’t any Federal government “hostile work environment laws and regulations” or “hostile work area laws” branded as such.
However, there are other state and federal protections for employees where hostile work environments exist. Employers that allow a hostile place of work is banned within specific Federal discrimination guidelines.
A hostile work environment generally needs to be a result of discriminatory work environment harassment centered on religion, disability, race, national origin, sex, genetics, color, sexual orientation and age. Alternatively, it has to be a result of retaliation which violates discrimination laws.
A hostile work environment is present when a worker suffers from work environment harassment and worries about going to work due to unpleasant, intimidating, or oppressive surroundings created by the harasser. A inhospitable work place can be developed when the employer operates a business activity intended to cause an individual to resign in retaliation for some hostile employer action.
What if an employee assists another employee in a FMLA(Family Medical Leave Act) violation investigation, pursued his union rights, filed a complaint for age discrimination or reported a violation of public policy? The employer then initiates a barrage of harassment, bullying, unfair job evaluations, unreasonable work schedule changes, demotion, reduced pay and other adverse actions.
Hostility of this type is not only an employer verbally assaulting, screaming, or being irritating. It is extremely precise, especially in a work environment where you are suing your boss for violation of some discrimination protection, wrongful termination or for developing an atmosphere that creates intense anxiety, tension, strain or worry to you.
Also, the harassment normally has to be deliberate, extreme, persistent and pervasive. It must obstruct an employee’s capability of performing her job.
Another form hostile work environment is sexual harassment:
Quid pro quo harassment, which implies “this for that,” is when a manager intends to terminate or otherwise cause adverse employment actions such as failure to promote a staff member if she or he does not have sexual relations with the manager.
Hostile workplace harassment is when conversation or conduct is “severe or pervasive”. It also is sufficient to produce a hostile, aggressive, harassing or abusive work environment. Instances of improper conduct of an erotic or sexual nature. Thsi may include sexually focused humor, pranks, antics, sexually specific e-mail, computer screen savers, images, cartoons, posters, graffiti. A sexual hostile workplace also involves unwanted physical contact.
The guidelines applied by regulatory organizations and courts in identifying whether a hostile work environment is present ask the question, would a reasonable person in the same or similar situations, find the conduct offensive. When individuals wind up in a hostile workplace, they will often not understand how to react, respond or what to do.
Steps taken should be based upon the level of hostility. Most employers have guidelines and procedures to prevent this type of conduct. When the employer does not take proper action the employee has the option of filing a complaint with his/her states employment rights agency or the (EEOC) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or file a lawsuit against the company.
Guilty hostile workplace environment employers will use a variety of tactics to get the employee to “give up” and quit. Why? One big reason is it will also let them off the hook for paying unemployment benefits.
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