What is a hostile work environment?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2021 | Employment Litigation |

Companies are often faced with various employee complaints and lawsuits. One common complaint an employer may hear is that an employee is suffering from a hostile work environment. But what is the legal definition of a hostile work environment and how can companies defend themselves against these allegations?

Many employees do not understand what the law considers a “hostile work environment”. If they don’t receive enough positive feedback from their boss or if their manager may appear to be crabby, they believe they are working in a hostile work environment. But clearly these situations do not indicate the presence of a hostile work environment.

Legal definition

The legal definition of a hostile work environment includes the following:

  • Discrimination of an employee based on age, race, gender, disability, or any other protected classification.
  • Behavior that is long-lasting and pervasive. If a person makes one or two offensive remarks it is not enough. Also, if the employee reports the behavior to human resources and they implement corrective actions then they can’t be held liable.
  • Actions that are severe enough to disrupt the employee’s job or career progress substantially.
  • Management that was aware of the behavior but failed to do anything about it.

Defense against charges

A legal professional who is skilled in employer defense can help a company who is facing a hostile work environment complaint. They are skilled in California and federal laws regarding this complicated matter and can protect their client’s legal rights. They understand the complexities of California Fair Employment and Housing Act, Equal Pay Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, affirmative action, etc. An attorney can protect their client through the process and seek the most efficient resolution.

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