Should You Quit or Sue Employer if Company Policies Create a Hostile Work Environment?
On behalf of Rager Law Firm posted on November 16, 2017
Many employees in Los Angeles , Pasadena seem to have a wrong idea about a hostile work environment and the laws that regulate it.
Just because your boss leans over your desk when he talks to you doesn’t necessarily amount to a hostile work environment unless the employer’s actions seriously disrupted your work.
A rude boss, annoying coworkers, an unpleasant work environment, lack of recognition or benefits can create a hostile work environment, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can take legal action against the employer.
Our employment attorney here at the Rager Offices Law explains that while the above-mentioned factors do contribute to an environment that is unfriendly or unsupportive, you will need the help of an experienced attorney to pursue legal action.
That’s because certain legal criteria must be met in order for a workplace to be hostile and to take legal action against the employer. Unless the behavior of your employer or coworker(s) negatively affects the conditions of a work environment, you cannot pursue legal actions and win a settlement for a hostile work environment.
What are example of hostile work environments?
If this sounds confusing, let’s review a couple of examples to know what is a hostile work environment and what isn’t. If a coworker, let’s say, is way too loud when he talks on the phone, this may not amount to a hostile work environment just because it’s annoying.
However, if his loud voice disrupts your work (you can’t focus on your own work, you share one telephone line together, etc.) and it happens over and over again even though you told him to stop, it may be considered a hostile workplace.
Similarly, if a coworker demonstrates obnoxious behavior (he picks his nose and eats it), it may not create a hostile work environment unless it really affects your work in a bad way (and you can prove it).
On the other hand, if a coworker keeps sexually harassing you, he may be creating a hostile work environment, as it may be unsettling to do your work when he’s around.
How to respond to a hostile workplace legally?
In any case, however, you will have to present convincing evidence that the employer or coworker(s)’s actions, communication or behavior created a hostile workplace and made performing your duties impossible.
If the inappropriate or unlawful behavior, communication or actions continue even though you asked the employer or coworker(s) to stop, the second step in addressing a hostile workplace is seeking the legal advice of a Los Angeles employment attorney.
Here at the Rager Offices Law, our attorneys adopt the following strategy when it comes to finding sufficient evidence of a hostile work environment to pursue legal action:
the hostile action, communication or behavior had a negative impact on your work (slipping work performance, etc.)
there are witnesses of the hostile actions, communication or behavior who think it disrupts their work as well
the hostile actions, communication or behavior weren’t just a one-time incident and were lasting over time
the responsible party was asked to stop the hostile actions, communication or behavior, but he/she didn’t stop
if the coworker(s)’s hostile actions, communication or behavior are to blame, the employer may have known about it and did nothing to intervene or stop (in this case, the employer may be held liable for creating a hostile workplace as well).
Consult our Los Angeles employment attorney to start investigating your case after discussing all of your options and finding the best legal solution to your problem.