Hostile working conditions can result in a workplace harassment claim against an employer if the negative conduct is motivated by an employee's protected characteristics as defined under employment laws including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), among others.
An employee may be subjected to workplace bullying or an unlawful hostile work environment if the employee experiences intolerable working conditions due to offensive, oppressive or intimidating conduct by a supervisor or other employees. This is especially true if the environment interferes with any worker's ability to perform his or her job. But how do you know if your work environment is actually hostile?
Our latest hostile work environment infographic shares common signs that your work environment may be toxic enough for you to file a workplace harassment claim.
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10 Warning Signs of a Hostile Work Environment
1.) Your boss or coworker exhibits verbal anger or aggression toward you and/or other coworkers. This can come in the form of yelling or shouting at you either in public or behind closed doors.
2.) A supervisor or coworker shows non-verbal anger or aggression toward you and/or other workers, such as slamming items onto your desk in a forceful manner.
3.) You or your coworkers have been subjected to verbal and/or nonverbal sexual harassment. For example, you may experience inappropriate touching, persistent requests for dates, name-calling or receive inappropriate mass emails that contain sexual subject matter.
4.) Your employer has been showing signs of workplace discrimination against you and/or your coworkers. This may be on the basis of a protected characteristic such as your gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and others as defined under various California and federal employment laws. For example, you may not get the promotion you deserve in favor of someone else less qualified simply because you are female and the coworker who was promoted is male.
5.) Your employer or a coworker belittles or shames you in front of others based on your ideas, personal circumstances, work or opinions. The behavior makes you feel unwanted, undervalued, and embarrassed.
6.) Your boss threatens you with unwarranted punishment, termination, physical, emotional, or psychological abuse.
7.) Your employer or coworker communicates with you and/or others using offensive jokes or racial slurs.
8.) Your supervisor or employer encourages unhealthy levels of competition between team members, resulting in low self-esteem and ongoing office drama.
9.) Your boss uses unfair tactics that prevent you or others from growth and advancement within the company.
10.) Everyone around you just seems miserable every single day, and the toxicity creates a hostile environment where you are also miserable and unproductive in your role. You may also notice a high turnover rate due to the hostile conditions.
If you feel that you may be working in a hostile work environment, you may want to file a workplace harassment claim against your employer if the behaviors are due to your membership in a protected class (age, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, national origin, pregnancy, etc.). Contact our experienced employment attorneys at Hennig Ruiz for your free consultation to discuss your situation today.