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Identifying a Hostile Work Environment

An employee might wonder what makes a work environment legally hostile. Many factors can make working somewhere incredibly unpleasant, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can take action against your employer.

In order for workplace hostility to become a legal issue, a worker has to prove that a particular manager or employee acted in such a way as to make doing their job impossible. The behavior exhibited must have altered the terms, conditions, or reasonable expectations of a comfortable working environment. Additionally, a supervisor or coworker might engage in illegal practices that make employment difficult, like sexual harassment or discrimination.

Requirements for a Hostile Work Environment Case

The law states that behavior or communication by a specified party must go beyond reasonable expectations, creating an uncomfortable environment. Their conduct, communication, and actions must also be discriminatory for a case to have a legal basis.

If someone leans over your desk and speaks loudly or steals your lunch, it is considered rude and inappropriate but does not constitute a legal basis for a hostile work environment. On the other hand, if a coworker constantly tells sexual jokes and emails the office pornographic images, that would be considered creating a hostile working environment. Other factors that constitute a hostile work environment as defined under the law may include:

  • Behaviors or actions that are discriminatory against a protected class. Unfair tactics against members of a distinct race, age, religion, or disability create an impossible job setting.
  • The action or behavior must be continuous and persistent over a long period, rather than a one- or two-time thing.
  • The issue becomes significant if it’s continuous and pervasive.
  • The situation has not been investigated or addressed sufficiently by the company.
  • The actions, communications, or demeanor must be severe enough to interfere with someone’s work and career progress.
  • The employer knew about an altercation didn’t do enough to intervene or didn’t investigate at all.

A worker dealing with a hostile workplace should first seek help from a supervisor or their employer’s human resources department. By law, employers cannot retaliate against employees for filing complaints, as that is also considered discrimination. An organization has a responsibility to keep their employees safe and reasonably happy. Failure to uphold proper workplace laws makes a company liable in a lawsuit.

Filing a Hostile Work Environment Claim in Denver

The minute you suspect illegal behavior in the workplace, you should contact an employment lawyer who fights for workers’ rights. An experienced attorney can listen to your case and help you decide what steps to take next. To raise a successful hostile workplace lawsuit, you’ll need specific types of evidence before you go in front of a courtroom. An attorney can help you gather that evidence.

Hostile work environment claims are challenging to pursue without legal help. Denver employment lawyer Nathan Davidovich has over 55 years of experience representing employees in such cases. He provides thorough and effective legal counsel and representation in Denver and surrounding areas. Give yourself a fighting chance with the help of Davidovich Law Firm, LLC.

Call (303) 825-5529 or complete our contact form for more information about hostile work environment claims in Denver.