Our office remains open to serve your important legal needs during these turbulent and challenging times. We are happy to schedule client consultations and client meetings by telephone or video-conference at your request.
Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

What is the meaning of a “hostile workplace” under the law?

Every workplace culture is different. Some are formal. Some are casual. Some are kind of rough-and-tumble. But what exactly makes a workplace hostile?

A hostile workplace is one that has conditions that make it impossible for you to do your job properly. This can be due to many factors but is usually due to factors like harassment, discrimination or unfair (and illegal) changes to your working conditions. 

Minor annoyances or a rude boss don’t necessarily equate to a hostile workplace

In order for a hostile work environment, the things you have to deal with must be major. Having a co-worker who just has an abrasive personality and little consideration for their tone or with others doesn’t make a hostile work environment. However, if that same co-worker berates you because of your race, they are creating a hostile work environment.

A boss who is prone to yelling his orders like Chef Ramsey doesn’t necessarily make a workplace legally “hostile.” However, a boss that gives you unattainable goals to accomplish in a short amount of time or cuts you out of important meetings because they don’t like your race or gender is likely creating a hostile workplace.

An employee who is dealing with a hostile work environment should make a complaint to their employer. The complaint should be investigated and the issue should be addressed. If the employer doesn’t investigate it or allows the problem to continue, it can meet the requirements of a legally hostile work environment. 

When you can’t resolve a dispute with an employer, seek help

Employees who are subjected to a hostile work environment can file a complaint about the matter. They can also take legal action. Working closely with an attorney who is familiar with these kinds of employment matters as early as possible is beneficial. 

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