What It’s Like to Be In a Hostile Workplace

Author: Mesriani Law Group
Posted on: October 18, 2019

Every employee has the right to work in a safe, healthy, and productive environment. A company that is open to supporting the needs of their employees can maximize their potential and skill set, making them a great asset to the business or service at hand. However, a workplace that is unappealing to work in due to various conditions is not suitable for employees and can ruin a company in the long run. A workplace can turn into a hostile environment quickly if not managed immediately.

What Constitutes a Hostile Workplace?

A hostile work environment can be a result of various acts or events. It can be that some of the employees, supervisors, or heads of departments discriminate towards employees who are part of a protected group. These actions include discriminatory acts against workers of a different color, race, gender, religion, national origin, pregnancy, age, disability, sexual orientation, or genetic information. Hostile conduct includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Saying jokes at the expense of another employee
  • Name-calling, slurs, or insults
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Physical assault
  • Intimidation or mockery
  • Use of inappropriate or sexual language
  • Showing or displaying sexually suggestive media

Additionally, there will be instances when the hostility that you are facing is only an incident of a person being rude or difficult to deal with. Most of the time, the clashing of personalities, petty arguments, select acts of disrespect, and other isolated incidents do not count as hostile acts in the workplace. Some of these acts, however, can be violations in company policy. Specific requirements or conditions must be considered whether or not an action or behavior constitute a hostile work environment. 

Is the Behavior Pervasive, Severe, and Persistent? 

A discriminatory slur or offensive behavior that happens only once or twice usually is not enough to be considered for a hostile work environment complaint.

Does it Disrupt the Victim’s or Others’ Work? 

Behavior that gets in the way of employee productivity can be a detriment to other workers or the company as a whole, especially if it happens regularly. These kinds of unwelcome behavior have most likely changed the terms, conditions, or reasonable expectations of an employee regarding the company and may make him or her deliver below expectations or consider resigning.

Did the Employer Know About the Incidents and Chose Not to Address Them Adequately?

Employers who choose to turn a blind eye towards discriminatory acts and other related incidents not only violate company policies and other employment laws but also perpetuate a hostile culture within the company. Having a hostile work environment can affect employees negatively. It can significantly lower the morale of the victim and cause stress that can manifest in the form of headaches, insomnia, and the like. It can also lessen a worker’s overall productivity, which results in missed deadlines or submitting subpar quality of work.

Dealing with a Hostile Work Environment 

The first step in dealing with a hostile workplace is to confront the offending employee or supervisor and tell them to stop their hostile behavior. If that doesn’t work or if you are having a difficult time doing it yourself, you may seek the help of your HR manager. If the environment you are working in remains hostile and unfit for work despite calling out those involved, the next logical step to do is to hire a hostile work environment attorney as soon as possible. Additionally, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits several kinds of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. There are several elements that need to be proven before you are considered a victim of a hostile workplace. These include:

  • You are part of a protected class (pregnant, racial minority, female, etc.)
  • The perpetrator holds a higher position in the company than you, like your supervisor.
  • You are being discriminated against for no reason or for a reason that goes against company policy.
  • Physical, emotional, or economic damage has been done to you as a result of a hostile workplace.
  • Your complaint is not investigated and addressed adequately.

If you are an employer facing this kind of complaint, the best way to defend your company’s name is to show that you have taken the necessary actions to correct or prevent any form of discrimination or harassment in the workplace from happening to maintain a healthy and productive group of workers. 

There may also be a possibility of an employee failing to take advantage of preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the company. Even if the claim doesn’t fit the definition of a hostile work environment, it is still worth investigating as the behavior may constitute a different kind of act that violates specific company policies other than creating a hostile work environment.

Contact an Experienced Hostile Work Environment Lawyer Today

If you feel that you are working in a hostile work environment or experiencing discriminatory acts at work, do not hesitate to contact our seasoned hostile workplace attorneys from Mesriani Law for your hostile work environment claims. Never pursue your claims on your own as going against your employer or company alone will put you at a distinct disadvantage. We ensure that you get the proper compensation you deserve from such acts and to put the right people to justice. 

Mesriani Law Group also offers a ‘No Win, No Fee’ guarantee, which means you don’t have to pay upfront fees up until we win your case. As California’s most trusted law firm, our house of skilled and accomplished lawyers is highly motivated to give you the justice you deserve at the swiftest possible time. Contact us now and have a FREE consultation with our trusted lawyers that are ready to help you with your potential hostile workplace lawsuit.