Houston Hostile Work Environment Lawyer
If you feel like you are working in a hostile environment, the Houston hostile work environment lawyers at Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers want you to know you’re not alone. In 2010, a group called the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) published a poll stating that over 50 million U.S. workers believe they’ve experienced “hostility” in the workplace. This WBI poll indicates an escalating sensitivity to bad workplace behavior, but only a small percentage of those who responded “yes” to this survey would have legal claims under Title VII, the ADA and other federal laws protecting employees in the workplace.
What Is a Hostile Work Environment?
To create an illegal hostile work environment, the offensive behavior must be directed at a particular employee or group of employees because of their gender, race, age, disability, or other membership in a protected class. Sexual harassment, in particular, tends to create a hostile work environment. Retaliation against an employee for taking a protected action such as complaining about harassment or providing testimony about a company’s illegal actions can also create a hostile work environment.
From a legal perspective, a hostile work environment claim is generally made in conjunction with other claims for illegal discrimination and/or retaliation. When addressing the issue of what constitutes a hostile work environment, the EEOC has stated, “you will have to be able to prove that you were subjected to racist or anti-ethnic, anti-religion, anti-age type conduct, that the conduct was unwelcomed by you, that the conduct was sufficiently severe or commonplace at your job that a reasonable person in your position would find your work environment to be hostile or abusive.” That’s a lot to prove and the EEOC goes on to state that it must be shown that the employer “knew or should have known about the conduct” and failed to improve the situation or prevent it from happening again.
Proving a Hostile Work Environment Claim in Houston, TX
Proving a hostile work environment claim based on the EEOC’s criteria is a challenge, which is why it is of the utmost importance to speak with a skilled Houston hostile work environment lawyer. It helps to document incidents of harassment with dates and specific details of the remarks made or actions taken against you. Reporting the offending behavior to the company is key, even if you’re intimidated or feel certain that your complaint will have no impact. The law does not require that your report be in writing, but some company policies do. As a practical matter, the way to have proof that you complained is to make a written complaint and keep a copy of it along with proof of delivery.
If the employer doesn’t put a stop to the harassment after you put them on notice, the next step is usually to file a complaint with the EEOC.
Consult a Houston Hostile Work Environment Lawyer Today
We recommend that you consult with an employment lawyer experienced in hostile work environment claims before you file an EEOC complaint. Call us at 866-703-3417 today for a free phone evaluation. In an employment law consultation, a Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers attorney will take the time to guide you through the intricacies of the challenging laws that protect employees against this form of workplace discrimination. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your claim with you.