If you believe that someone at your workplace has targeted you for harassment or other seriously inappropriate behavior, you may have a legitimate hostile work environment lawsuit. As ForensicNotes.com explains, however, you must be able to prove not only that the acts occurred, but that they affected you to the point where you cannot adequately perform your work.
Keep in mind that the hostile work environment rules and regulations do not, and were never intended to, protect you from uncomfortable workplace realities such as teasing, bullying, crude jokes, etc. Rather, you must prove that one or more specific people targeted you for abuse based on one of the following:
- Your race
- Your gender
- Your religion
- Your age if you are 40 or older
- Your national origin
- Your disability
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission oversees and investigates all hostile workplace environment claims. You must, therefore, file your complaint with the EEOC. Naturally, the more proof you have regarding the abuse heaped upon you at work, the more easily you can substantiate your claim.
Remember, the EEOC determines hostile work environments on a case-by-case basis. Consequently, you should start keeping detailed written records as soon as the offensive behavior begins. Include such things as the following:
- The person(s) who harassed you
- The dates on which they did it
- The nature of his, her or their harassment
- The names of anyone else who witnessed it
- How it made you feel
- How it negatively impacted your ability to do your job
You can also make your case stronger if you can show that you made timely complaints to your supervisor, boss or an appropriate person in your company’s Human Resources department, but that they failed to stop the harassment.