Lawyer for Employee Harassment
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What Is Workplace Harassment and Discrimination? Employees are protected against harassment and discrimination under a number of state and federal laws. They are protected from discrimination because of age, color, national origin, race, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, disability, caregiving responsibilities, and political beliefs. While it is hard to cover every harassment or discriminatory action in the law, the law mentions the unlawful reasons why discrimination or harassment may occur. These include termination, failure to promote, failure to hire, or failure to protect an employee for ongoing harassment that they are aware of. If you believe you were harassed at work, you talk a lawyer for employee harassment for free.
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The federal law explicitly covers the following discrimination:
All employees have the right to a safe and healthy work environment. If there is harassment, discrimination, or the employee is otherwise prevented from doing their job, this is a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment can seriously impact an employee’s ability to do their job. Harassment is unwelcome conduct or comments based on any legally protected characteristics that interferes with an employee’s ability to perform their duties.
The person creating a hostile work environment could be a manager, supervisor, co-workers, vendors, contractors, clients, or any other people in the place of business. Isolated incidences, annoyances, or petty slights in the workplace may not be considered illegal. However, if the unwelcome and offensive conduct has changed the terms and conditions of your employment, you may be able to file a claim for harassment or a hostile work environment.
The definition of a hostile workplace will vary depending on the nature of the business. For example, let’s say the case is an employee who works at a tanning salon, and the employee is claiming a hostile work environment because people regularly have their clothes off while being tanned. Because the nature of the workplace is that people need to be undressed while being tanned, this is unlikely to be considered a hostile environment. The defense would argue that the employee should have reasonably expected this to be the case.
If the same complaint was in an office environment, and the complaint was employees were shirtless or in a state of undress in the workplace, then the employee could argue that this is a hostile work environment if it causes so much distress that the employee cannot work. Especially if the reason for the undress is to make the employee uncomfortable or intimidate them.
You can file a lawsuit based on a hostile workplace to state or federal court; the requirements for each will be different. In federal court, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC will enforce federal workplace discrimination laws. Resolving discrimination and hostile workplace disputes is its reason for creation. When the EEOC examines a workplace for a hostile work environment, it will look at:
In relation to this point, employees are encouraged to speak out against harassment and say that the behavior is unwelcome and must cease. If the harassment continues after this, the employee should report the harassment to management immediately. The hope is that this will put an end to the harassment and create a safe working environment if it does not, then the employer is liable for the hostile workplace.
Depending on your location, there may be local or state laws against workplace discrimination and harassment. If so, you may bring your case to a local or state court. Research the local procedure for workplace harassment claims.
The first step is to speak out about the abusive behavior and tell the harasser that their behavior is unwelcome, and they must stop. After that, the conduct must be immediately reported to a supervisor or manager to prevent future harassment.
If the harassment continues or it was a severe incident, read through the legal requirements above to see if your hostile workplace claim will be successful. Keep records of conversations with management about the harassment and what their actions were. If you have written evidence that is ideal, but at the very least you will have notes to jog your memory. If possible, communicate with management about the hostile work environment over email as you will have a written record.
If you report the harassment or hostile work environment via phone or in person, be aware of local and federal laws about wiretapping. In some states, all parties must consent to recordings for them to be admissible. Federal law allows in-person and telephone conversations to be recorded if one of the parties consents.
Not exactly. The employer is only liable for harassment and a hostile workplace if they are aware of the situation. If they failed to rectify, investigate, address the issue, or intervene, then they will be liable.
Reporting harassment to HR and management immediately means that if the situation continues, you will get a larger settlement from your employer than the individual harasser.
If your hostile workplace claim is successful, you will be compensated for any losses you may have sustained. These can include:
Any costs, financial or otherwise, will be rectified by the court.
As discussed above, the first thing you should do is to ask the harasser to stop their unwanted behavior. Then you should speak to HR and management to make them aware of their illegal behavior and request their help in stopping it.
These two steps are vital in your case. There must be evidence that you reported your problem, where possible, try to report the issue to HR or management via email. That way, the issue is documented. If the harassment still continues, contact the EEOC or your relevant state agency. They can investigate your claim and help you to file a lawsuit.
You do not need one, but consulting an employment lawyer is in your best interests. They will be able to talk you through your rights and whether or not you have a case. An employment lawyer will also be able to help you through the process of filing a claim with the EEOC or a state agency. They will help you to gather evidence and represent you in court.
Brad Nakase, Attorney
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Business Trial Lawyer since 2005. Proven Results.