Many sexual harassment cases in Glendale, Los Angeles, and the surrounding communities involve a hostile work environment — but what does that really mean? Does it only apply to overt sexual advances?
If you think you’ve been subjected to a hostile work environment, it may be a good idea to get in touch with a Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer. Harassment that turns an otherwise ordinary workplace into a place where you cannot function to perform your job may be illegal… and you may be entitled to financial compensation as a result.
What is a Hostile Work Environment?
A hostile work environment is an environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, abusive, or hostile. It’s a workplace situation that makes it impossible for an employee to perform his or her work in a reasonable manner because the hostility is severe or pervasive.
Does a Bad Boss or Rude Co-Worker Create a Hostile Work Environment?
Minor annoyances or isolated incidents don’t make a work environment hostile. Instead, the term refers to harassing conduct that would make it impossible for a reasonable person to do his or her job because it’s intimidating, hostile, or offensive.
The behavior must be discriminatory in nature, as well, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If someone is harassing you based on your religion, your gender, your age, or your race, it’s considered discriminatory. Your boss or co-worker doesn’t have to scream insults at you in order to be guilty of violating your rights, though; discriminatory harassment that creates a hostile work environment can come across as “jokes” or casual remarks.
A rude and inconsiderate co-worker or your overbearing boss aren’t necessarily contributing to a hostile work environment—but you are entitled to work in a place free from discrimination related to:
- Disability or genetic information
- Gender (including pregnancy)
- Sexual orientation or gender identity
- Skin color
What Do “Severe” and “Pervasive” Mean?
Your Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer will ask you whether the hostility you experienced was severe or pervasive.
- Harassment can be severe after just one instance, like physical touching or a particularly offensive comment.
- Harassment is pervasive when it happens frequently over a period of time, whether or not each instance was severe.
The courts evaluate severe and pervasive conduct by looking at how the employee’s work conditions have changed since the incident (or since the pattern of incidents began).
Could You Be Entitled to Compensation for a Hostile Work Environment?
As an employee, you are entitled to work in a harassment-free environment. The first step to take, as your L.A. employment lawyer will tell you, is to contact your company’s human resources department or your supervisor to file a formal complaint. (If you have to, go to your boss’s boss; it’s okay to go higher with your complaint!)
Your employer will then have a chance to correct the problem. If the employer fails to do so, you could be entitled to financial compensation.
Do You Need to Talk to an Employment Attorney?
If you’ve been subjected to a hostile work environment and your employer hasn’t corrected the situation, we may be able to help you.
Call us at 818-230-8380 for your free, confidential consultation with a harassment attorney in L.A. who can help.