Hostile Work Environment

KVO.about1a1“Hostile Work Environment” is a phrase that many people have heard. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean what it looks like.

A work environment can be “hostile” without violating any employment laws. For example, a supervisor can be a jerk, but if the supervisor is what we call an “equal-opportunity jerk” – meaning, a jerk to everyone, then the supervisor is not discriminating. If the supervisor is singling you out because of a personality conflict, that may be discriminating against you, but he or she is not discriminating based on a protected characteristic.

However, when a supervisor or co-workers engage in repeated acts of discriminating against you because of your sex, race, disability, religion, national origin or age (over 40), you may be in an illegal “hostile work environment.” The hostility must be based on one of these characteristics. Some example case that have been handled by this firm:

  • Hispanic employees being subjected to daily derogatory racial name calling by ownership, e.g. “wetback”, “spic”, etc.
  • Female employees subjected to regular, repeated sexual come-ons and inappropriate physical contact by a co-worker, with knowledge of their supervisors.
  • Regular, repeated references to the oldest worker at the place of business as “old man” and “old fart”.
  • Frequent derogatory references to a Palestinian Muslim employee by a Christian supervisor, using names such as “terrorist”, “towelhead” and “rock-thrower”.
  • Frequent harassment and humiliation of a mentally disabled employee by other insensitive and thoughtless employees.

Our local courts do not consider a stray remark here or there to create a hostile work environment in itself. But when the treatment is so severe and pervasive that it changes the nature of the work environment, it may violate state or federal employment laws.

Our firm routinely handles these cases on contingency – where our attorney fees come only from your recovery in the case. You pay us nothing out-of-pocket. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your success.

Call us NOW at (512) 410-1960, set up a FREE phone consultation or contact us through the form below. Your information is confidential and goes directly to employment attorney Kerry O’Brien. It is our policy to get back to you within one business day if at all feasible.

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