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Am I working in a hostile environment?

When it comes to things like race discrimination, you often hear the term hostile work environment thrown around. There is some confusion about the exact definition of a hostile environment at work, as some believe that it simply means obnoxious behavior or mean bosses. TheBalance.com explains the legal requirements that are looked at when a hostile work environment is alleged, which will help you take the right steps to rectify the issue.

Discrimination

It’s unlawful to discriminate against certain protected classes within the workplace. Along with treating a person differently due to his or her race, discriminating based on age, gender, and disability are also not prohibited. If you’re not sure whether you fall into one of these protected categories, you may want to discuss the matter with an attorney who has experience in this area of the law.

Severity of actions

The behavior must also be serious enough that it impedes an employee’s work. This is especially true of actions that have persisted over an extended period of time, which are thought to take a greater toll on a person’s ability to perform in the workplace. In some cases, a hostile work environment may even be severe enough that it stops a worker from excelling in his or her position.

Lack of intervention

Employers must show that they took the appropriate action to stop discriminatory behaviors. If not, they can be seen as contributing to a hostile work environment, which could lead to legal action against them. This is true even if discrimination occurred only between workers, as it’s up to management to deal with issues in an effective manner and prevent them from having further effects on staff.

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