Whether you’ve been working at the same company for years or have only recently been on the payroll, you’ve no doubt experienced challenges on the job. Let’s face it — some workdays are better than others. Most West Virginia employees can relate to that statement. However, if your not-so-good workdays have a connection to a hostile work environment, then you can take steps to resolve the problem.
The first thing you must determine is whether your circumstances meet the legal definition for a hostile work environment. You might have a serious personality clash with a coworker or manager, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the environment is hostile. To legally be hostile, there must be an ongoing situation that is impeding your ability to function.
If these elements exist, you might have a hostile work environment
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has set forth the criteria shown in the following list as elements that constitute hostility in the workplace:
- Harassment through unwelcomed conduct, especially but not limited to discrimination regarding sex, religion, age, pregnancy, ethnicity or other identifiable characteristics
- Behavior is pervasive and ongoing
- Actions cause intimidation or are offensive or abusive
This is a basic overview of elements that constitute hostility in the workplace. If you have fallen victim to harassment at work, it is wise to report it to your boss, unless, of course, your boss is the individual who is harassing you. Keep in mind that all workers, executives, clients and patrons must maintain safety, and every employee has a right to fair treatment on the job.
Fighting back against a hostile work environment
When harassment occurs that hinders your ability to perform well on the job, it can impede your overall quality of life. In fact, many victims of hostility in the workplace suffer mental and physical health issues that stem from the stress they experience every time they go to work.
In the past, many workers have sought justice by filing legal claims to seek restitution following incidents of hostility and discrimination on the job. Some people are hesitant to speak out against harassment in the workplace because they fear that it will make matters worse. Just remember that there are laws in place to protect employee rights and people who can help you navigate the system.