Signs that you need a hostile work environment lawyer
Sometimes, your workplace can be pretty unpleasant in the sense that you and your colleagues might be exhausted with the amount of work and thus feel burnout, people maybe argue in the workplace or there might even be complaints about being underpaid and overworked. Such conditions of a workplace distract and tire employees and limit their capabilities to work to their full potential. However, every unpleasant workplace doesn’t qualify as a hostile work environment.
In legal terms, a hostile work environment is created when employees feel uncomfortable and unsafe in the workplace because of a set of factors called ‘unwelcome conduct’. Workplace harassment, bullying, sexual harassment, molestation, discrimination, victimization, violence, and other similar thing come under unwelcome conduct.
If you too find yourself in such situations in your workplace, it is better to take a stand for yourself and act on it by submitting your complaint to the HR department. However, if things are so much more severe as it starts affecting you physically, mentally, or emotionally, you should understand that it is time to get yourself a hostile work environment lawyer.
Still, confused about how to distinguish between an unpleasant workspace and a hostile work environment? Here are some factors that qualify as hostile workspaces.
This is one of the biggest indicators of a hostile work environment. Forced physical interactions, nonconsensual inappropriate touches during office hours, molestation of any kind, sexual misconduct, etc are primary elements of sexual harassment. Many times inappropriate comments on specific gender identities and sexual orientations are also included in this factor. Sexual harassment isn’t just annoying for the sake of it but it also instills a lot of fear in the victim and sometimes leads the victim to self-loath and doubt causing their performance to stoop low.
It is the 21st century and as impossible as it seems, racial harassment is very much an active part of the everyday world. A workplace where someone is bullied and harassed for their race and ethnicity, is forced to face racial slurs and is attacked physically, is not at all a healthy work environment, and is 100% hostile and toxic.
Discrimination in the workplace comes from the personal prejudice and biases employees have for their co-works or superiors have for the people working under them. Discrimination can literally stem from anything from race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, and even maternity status. Discrimination divides people in the workforce and further marginalizes the already marginalized employees.
Aggression from your employer, your superiors, and your colleagues can be pretty disturbing as it can affect your mental health as you stay on high alert 24/7 while being scared. Aggression can show up in many different forms like physical violence, verbal yelling, pointlessly insulting, etc. The aggression can also be pretty passive including silent treatment and voluntary ignorance, which are both not considered valid legal reasons.
Joking and light-hearted pranks are very frequent and common things in various work environments. Actually, a few appropriate jokes here and there that are entertaining can help colleagues bond better, lighten the mood and keep people motivated to work all day long. But it gets toxic when this ‘joking’ exceeds limits. Homophobic and transphobic jokes in workplaces, misogynistic ridiculing, targeted humiliation towards people, etc can be counted as signs of a hostile work environment.
Hostile work environments are a violation of people’s basic rights which is why it is important to implement some changes. Toxic work environments can affect people in many different ways but to make a case you have to be a victim of something that is significantly damaging and harmful. If your workplace shows all these signs, you may be working at the wrong place and it may be the time to get a hostile work environment lawyer.