Most of us spend more time at work than we do at home – making it feel like a second home. That is why it is essential to have a healthy and happy working environment when possible. Sure, there are ups and downs in any job, but dealing with a hostile environment at work can have a devastating impact on your mood, health, and life outside of work.
When trying to determine if you are dealing with a hostile work environment which may support a claim against your employer, it is important to understand the elements of a valid claim. Just because you think your boss is a jerk or you do not like the people you work with does not mean you are dealing with an actionable hostile work environment. To have a valid claim, you must prove the hostility you are facing while at work is due to a protected characteristic or class or involved hostility directed at you because you engaged in a protected activity, such as:
- Disability or handicap
If you’re overwhelmed, upset, and stressed out because of work, it may not be you. Here are six signs to help you determine if you’re dealing with a hostile work environment and what you can do to fix the problem.
6 Signs of a Hostile Work Environment
Your Boss Makes Inappropriate Sexual Comments or Advances
You’ve Been Punished Because You Filed a Workers’ Compensation Claim
You Didn’t Receive a Promotion Because You’re “Too Old”
You Were Harassed or Demoted Because of Your Race
You Are Getting Bullied Because of Your Religion
You Have Been Punished or Harassed After Reporting Unlawful Activity
Sexual harassment is against the law. If your boss has been making inappropriate sexual jokes, gestures, or other unacceptable behaviors, this can create a hostile work environment. Whether you work in a restaurant, office, retail store or otherwise, you should take action and consult an employment law attorney.
It is not uncommon for employers to retaliate against employees after a workers’ compensation claim is filed. Have you been demoted or fired? Did your employer add extra duties like heavy lifting or other labor that wasn’t a part of your job before you filed a claim?
Age discrimination is an unfortunate reality. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects people 40 years of age and older from age-based discrimination. The ADEA covers discrimination throughout the hiring process, as well as with benefits, RIFs (Reduction in Force), forced early retirement, compensation, and more. Have you been consistently bullied at work because of your age? This may also create a hostile work environment.
Racism is not only morally wrong — it is illegal in the workplace. You don’t have to fight alone. If you have been harassed on the job, demoted, or otherwise punished because of your race, color, creed, or national origin, experienced employment law attorneys can help. Race discrimination in the workplace is illegal under State and Federal law. The Federal law is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Freedom of religion is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution and anti-discrimination statutes. Employers are not allowed to make you wear clothing that is against your religion, berate you because of your belief, or discriminate against you in promotions, health insurance, wages and all areas of employment.
Whistleblowers are protected under Florida’s Private Whistle-blower’s Act and many other laws, such as The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII and other anti-discrimination laws, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). This means that it is unlawful for employers to terminate employees for uncovering, objecting to, or reporting violations of state and federal law. If an employer has retaliated against you for reporting illegal labor practices, safety violations, or because you have participated in an investigation, consult an experienced employment law attorney today.
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we are by your side throughout the entire process of filing and litigating a hostile work environment claim. Contact us today to fight for justice, uphold your rights, and hold your employer accountable for their unacceptable and unlawful behavior. Following your free initial consultation, we take immediate action in getting to know the facts of your case.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.