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Defining a Hostile Work Environment

Last updated 2 years ago

Is your work daily work situation making you uncomfortable? Do you experience unwanted touching or lewd comments in the workplace? If so, you are likely working in a hostile work environment. This atmosphere is categorically illegal, and gives you adequate grounds to file a harassment or discrimination claim against your employer.

Legal Definition

US employment law holds that a hostile work environment occurs when there is discriminatory conduct or behavior inside the workplace that is both unwelcome and offensive to an employee (or group of employees) based on their protected class status. By itself, this environment is enough grounds to file a successful claim. Generally, workplace sexual harassment claims either involve a hostile work environment or quid pro quo discrimination, wherein a supervisor implies to a subordinate that he or she must endure harassment in order to get promoted or remain employed.

Are Your Protected?

In order to file a successful claim, an employee has to be a member of a “protected class” of employees. This generally includes women, people of color, the disabled, veterans, and the like. This does not mean that men cannot file employment law claims. They can absolutely complain of a hostile work environment—the harassment just has to be substantial enough to meet a legal threshold. If you are unsure as to whether your supervisor or coworkers are creating a hostile work environment, consult an experienced employment lawyer today.

No one should have to suffer through workplace harassment. If you live in the Bay Area and experience a hostile work environment that is negatively affecting your life, call the Advocacy Center for Employment Law at (888) 703-2911. Our team of experienced employment law attorneys can help walk you through an employment complaint so you can seek compensation for your emotional pain. The first consultation is free, so call today!


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