Many employees may feel that a quarrel with a colleague, getting scolded by a supervisor, or not being promoted to a senior position are elements that constitute a hostile work environment. These actions may make you feel unappreciated or even bullied; however, specific guidelines set and monitored by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) constitute a hostile workplace beyond all reasonable doubt.
Employers and employees use these guidelines to protect their rights and uphold employment law regulations. However, it is possible for you to experience a hostile work environment and not know it.
To assist you in identifying elements of a hostile workplace, here are four things to look out for when accessing the level of hostility in your workplace.
Inappropriate Sexual Advances Or Other Harassing Behavior
Any behavior that is offensive, inappropriate, and constitutes sexual advances is strictly prohibited in the workplace. This kind of behavior degenerates employee relations and causes a decrease in workplace morale. Unfortunately, female employees are most likely to be sexually harassed or violated, leading to a further case of gender-based discrimination.
If you’re a victim of such, there are high chances that your employee rights have been violated. The civil rights law protects employees from sexual harassment or advancements in the workplace.
Furthermore, because the long-term impacts of sexual harassment impact the employees’ finances and emotional wellbeing, you must seek legal counsel if your employer does not mitigate the situation. Just as you would rely on an attorney to save your life when facing criminal accusations yourself, you should opt for legal guidance when seeking justice for sexual harassment.
Discrimination based on gender, race, or disability is prevalent in a hostile workplace. The EEOC is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the prevalence of discrimination in the workplace. This particular commission is required to enforce and administer civil rights laws against discrimination.
Employees should report all acts of discrimination to the HR department. However, there are other options that you can explore; if you are in LA, for example, contact a Los Angeles lawyer to assist you.
An environment where you have to constantly bite your tongue or turn a blind eye when you see something foul constitutes a hostile environment driven by intimidation. This kind of hostility may leave you at a loss. If you choose to speak up, you may receive the same treatment as your colleague or even worse.
However, the EEOC and the civil rights laws fully protect employees, like yourself, who are willing to step up and speak out against hostility in the workplace. This act is called whistleblowing.
Retaliation refers to unjust actions taken by your employer after you have raised concerns or have reported issues you have had in the workplace with the regulatory authorities. These acts may include being fired, demoted, or out on unpaid leave for a certain period. These acts are strictly prohibited by the EEOC and the Civil Rights law of 1964.
Employers are strictly required by law to launch a full investigation if any of the above incidents is to be claimed by an employee. The HR department will lead the inquiry once concluded the matter may be taken forward to a court of law or settled among colleagues and supervisory staff outside of court.