Most employees have disagreed with their boss or co-workers at some point in their career or had a job that was not the right fit. A hostile workplace, however, is a specific environment where employees are subjected to severe and offensive behavior that can create an intimidating and abusive workplace.
Hostile work environment
There are several circumstances that can create a hostile work environment. These include discrimination based on an employee’s race, religion, age, disability or other protected category and retaliation for reporting wrongdoing or unsafe working conditions.
It may also include bullying, humiliation, verbal abuse and aggressive behavior, as well as intimidation intended to make the employee feel unsafe. It can be displayed through offensive language, sexist comments and hate speech.
A hostile work environment can also be present where the employer sexually harasses the employee or threatens them with consequences if they refuse sexual advances.
While employees are often encouraged to report their concerns internally, this is not always effective. If the internal report does not resolve the issue, the employee may consider taking legal action against their employer.
Employees may be wrongfully terminated for reporting a hostile work environment. It is against the law for employers to retaliate against employees for making a good faith report.
To demonstrate that wrongful termination occurred, the employee will need to show that there is a connection between their report and the adverse employment action. It is helpful to keep detailed records of when each incident occurred and who was involved.