Are you in a hostile work environment?

Do you feel verbally or physically threatened, intimidated, or humiliated at work? Maybe it’s a colleague who’s always angry at you, or a boss who makes inappropriate comments. You could be experiencing a hostile work environment. Ignoring the conduct may cause it to get worse. 

That’s why it’s important to know what a hostile work environment is and what to do if you find yourself experiencing one.  A hostile work environment is a legal term that means one or more employees are being treated poorly because of their protected characteristic, such as race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability, among others. 

Here are three steps to take if you believe you’re experiencing a hostile work environment. 

1. Document everything.

Keep a record of all the incidents that occur, including emails, text messages, and conversations, as well as any correspondence you have with your supervisor or Human Resources. 

Be sure to include what happened, who was involved, dates, times, and locations, as well as how it made you feel and the impact it had on you. For example, did it interfere with your ability to do your job? 

This information will be vital to the company’s investigation and to you and your attorney should you decide to pursue legal action. 

2. Speak to HR.

Don’t try to deal with this situation on your own. Reporting the situation to your manager or your Human Resources Department may put an end to the behavior, or at least show that you did everything you could to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible. This will help preserve your rights should you decide to pursue legal action.

3. Seek legal help.

If the situation becomes too much for you to handle, or if you feel your safety is in danger, contact an employment attorney immediately. Your employment attorney will evaluate the situation and can help you enforce your legal rights by having those difficult conversations and either negotiating with your employer on your behalf or filing a legal claim. 

By taking these proactive steps, you can ensure that your rights are protected and, hopefully, find a resolution to your situation in the most timely manner possible. Remember, it’s illegal for any employer to retaliate against employees who report a hostile work environment.

It’s always a good idea to speak with an experienced employment attorney who will help you protect your rights and navigate the complexities of your situation. Above all, don’t wait too long, because there are time limits for filing workplace discrimination or harassment claims. Therefore, it is important to seek legal help as soon as possible.

If you have employment law questions or believe your employment rights have been violated, give us a call at 973.787.8442 or schedule a Strategy Session, before it’s too late.

Please keep in mind that this is general information, not legal advice. And the law may change at any time. 

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