Hostile work environments are known to create numerous challenges in the workplace that ultimately prevent employees from doing their jobs. Over time, this has proven to be a real issue for companies because hostility impacts employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity.
Hostile work environments are the areas in which words or actions of a supervisor, manager, or even coworker negatively impact another employee’s ability to positively function in the workplace. Anyone in the workplace can be responsible for creating a hostile work environment, the burden does not solely fall on upper management.
Workplace hostility is fairly common across America, especially in larger corporations where stress prevails, deadlines get imposed and numerous personalities don’t mesh well. Unfortunately, not all hostile actions are illegal.
However, when hostility turns into aggression, discrimination, or retaliation, our Riverside hostile work environment attorney will take swift action in holding perpetrators accountable while collecting compensation for victims.
What Constitutes ‘Hostile’ In California?
Any employee with unlikable bad habits or that constantly bothers another coworker isn’t quite enough to create a hostile work environment. We distinguish what qualifies as in fact a hostile work environment below.
True hostile work environments meet certain criteria according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The U.S. EEOC states that most isolated incidents, petty ‘slights’, and common annoyances do not constitute actionable hostility. By definition, a hostile work environment is created when harassment reaches a level any normal person would deem offensive, intimidating, or unfriendly.
This includes unwelcome conduct, harassment based on race, gender, pregnancy, religion, origin, age, disability, and genetics. Harassment is continued and long-lasting and conducts severe enough that the environment becomes intimidating, offensive, or abusive.
For our Riverside hostile work environment attorney to take action, hostility must breach the Americans with Disabilities Act, The ADEA (Aged Discrimination in Employment Act), or Civil Rights Act. Blurred lines may exist between that which is allowable, and that which violates protected classes.
Hostile work environments may arise when:
- A group of employees slings racial slurs at one or several individuals of color or foreign descent.
- An individual wants to physically challenge another individual because they have a speech impediment.
- Epithets, or unneeded name-calling, are focused on Jewish or other religious classes.
- Blatant interference with daily work activities by those who feel inclined to act inappropriately.
- Women are the butt of sexual innuendos or are sent provocative emails at work.
- Employees make fun of another because they’re wheelchair prohibited.
Due to the previously mentioned behaviors, those victims and their work performance have been known to suffer drastically. In order for an employee to establish a hostile work environment, the victim must be able to show how the words or actions of another coworker or supervisor negatively affect their ability to perform the job. Usually, we see severe, pervasive, and unwelcome behavior or words and action that if not corrected, prevent the employee from functioning in their role.
To determine if your claim can be successfully litigated, Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers should review facts surrounding your situation.
Steps Victims Can Take
Some situations may be isolated, one-time outbursts which a simple conversation with the offender can resolve. However, ongoing verbal or emotional abuse by supervisors or coworkers can terrify people focused on earning money for their families.
Take these steps if workplace hostility has started to spiral out of control:
- First, discuss your concerns with both the perpetrator and upper management. Arrange a small conference if need be.
- If your complaints are well received, all should be fine moving forward. If not, document the results of your conference, including those in the room, date, and time.
- After each incident, document the day and time, what was said (verbatim if possible).
- When you feel you’re reaching an ‘emotional tipping point’, visit Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers so someone professional can guide your next steps.
Employees shouldn’t have to beg for peace within their work environment. Although lighthearted joking shouldn’t be taken seriously, discriminatory remarks or those which make someone feel belittled or threaten their livelihood are definitely actionable offenses that we’re able to successfully litigate so long as every fact surrounding the incident passes a ‘reasonable doubt’ test.
Workplace Hostility Is Serious. Let Us Help.
One of the biggest parts of creating a safe working environment is by preventing harassment from happening initially. We recommend the tips below for creating a positive work environment to avoid harassment and hostility.
- Value employees: this is best done by creating an environment where employee voices and ideas are valued and encouraged. Everyone should feel like they have the space to perform to the best of their abilities within the company while the manager feels employees are competent to do their jobs and bring forth great value. Managers should consider keeping their doors open during certain times on a day-to-day basis to show availability. Promoting idea-sharing demonstrates respect towards employee input. This is most effectively done by asking for feedback during any decision-making process or by inviting employees to collaborate on higher-level projects.
- Make work fun: it is a known fact that happy employees do better work than those who report less happiness. Managers should maintain a professional environment but at the same time one that includes opportunities for fun in the workday. You may see employees who encourage decorating their workspaces or offer breaks to increase morale. Fostering an environment of friendly competition between employees in which human resources or sales teams develop contests for special prizes like gift cards or a day off from work are all suitable ideas.
- Build an environment of trust: suggestions on this tact can be related to releasing some control to employees to do their job without constant supervision. The right people will work well and be successful with minimal supervision.
Every employee, regardless of sex, should feel comfortable clocking into their respective positions without fear of threats, discrimination, or unneeded adverse actions.
When you’ve had enough and want an experienced Riverside hostile work environment attorney to help vindicate you, contact Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers. We’ve handled many similar cases where excessive hostility led to compensation victims. Our offices are located in El Segundo (310-527-6994) and Los Angeles (310-740-9890), California.