A hostile work environment is an extremely specific kind of harassment that people can face in the workplace. If you dread going to your job because of how others act and how you are treated, you may need the help of an Atlanta hostile work environment attorney.
What Makes it a Hostile Work Environment?
A hostile work environment is not simply a bad place to work. Your workplace has to meet some specific criteria in order to be considered a hostile environment. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, things get hostile when:
- The harassment continues for a long time without a break
- The conduct is severe enough to make the environment itself feel intimidating or abusive
- The conduct is discriminatory in nature and targets you based on a protected trait
This is more than dealing with a snide comment from a rude coworker or an overbearing attitude from your boss. Hostile work environments are built on discrimination.
Which Traits Are Protected From Discrimination?
There are many qualities that should not be targeted by coworkers or bosses. Discriminating based on any of the following can get an employer in big trouble:
- National origin
If any of these aspects of an employee are the constant targets of “jokes” or comments, then that needs to be addressed by an employer.
What Are the Effects of a Hostile Work Environment?
Employers should not just care about a hostile work environment due to the potential for legal trouble. Such an environment can have adverse effects on employees and their performance. No one is going to be able to work well in a hostile workplace, so it’s not rare for employee output and performance to decline. At the same time, employees who do not like or trust each other are probably not going to work well together.
Can Contacting HR Help Me Deal With a Hostile Work Environment?
You should talk to your company’s human resources department if you feel like you are dealing with a hostile work environment. They may be able to help you address it. If they cannot or do not do anything for you, you have a paper trail. You made a complaint and there was no serious attempt to address it. That can help you if the behavior continues and you file a lawsuit.
When Do I Need an Employment Lawyer?
If you are constantly experiencing harassment and discrimination, and your workplace seems unable to unwilling to address it, then you may want to talk to an employment lawyer. An attorney can help you file claims with the right government agency, and that might finally make your employer do the right thing.
Schedule Your Consultation
No one should have to face discrimination or fear at their workplace. If you are experiencing any other kinds of issues in the workplace, call Ben Barrett Law. We can schedule a consultation and tell you more about your options.