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What is a hostile work environment?

| Apr 23, 2021 | Sexual Harassment |

Work environments throughout Kentucky differ with regard to many different factors. Their needs for skilled workers, the jobs their workers perform, and the number of individuals employed can all vary based on the industry of the employer. Despite the many differences that exist in workplaces, there are certain rules and expectations that all employers must meet for the safety and wellbeing of those that they employ.

One mandate that employers must meet is to prevent hostile work environments from developing within their employment cultures. Hostile work environments are a form of sexual harassment and can impose legal liability on employers who fail to protect their workers from them. This informational post will discuss hostile work environments and how they are defined under the law. No part of this post should be read as legal advice, and all of the information contained herein should be reviewed with a trusted employment law attorney.

Recognizing a hostile work environment

Claims of hostile work environment are often based on conduct committed against workers by others in their places of employment. The conduct in question must be unwelcome by the victim or victims, and it must be based on sex to qualify as hostile work environment. Hostile work environment conduct is severe or pervasive to such an extend that it makes the working environment abusive or offensive. There are many types of conduct that may qualify as hostile for the purposes of identifying hostile work environments, and individuals should talk to their attorneys about what they have experienced.

Understanding the elements of hostile work environment claims

Proving that a work environment is hostile takes a lot of work and reliance on the facts of a victim’s case. Many factors can influence whether a claim is valid, and those factors can include, but are not limited to:

  • The frequency of how often the conduct occurred;
  • The type of conduct engaged in (physical/mental/emotional);
  • The role of the harassing party (supervisor or worker);
  • The number of sexual harassment victims;
  • The number of individuals who engaged in the harassing behavior; and
  • Other factors relevant to hostile work environment claims.

Not all victims are prepared to address hostile work environment legal problems on their own. They may not know who to turn to when they face painful, threatening, and embarrassing harassment by their co-workers and supervisors. They may choose to ignore their harassment and suffer in silence instead of advocating for their rights.

Attorneys who represent harassment victims understand the pain and stigma that can attach to individuals who have been forced to endure such treatment. They are strong advocates for employee rights and for the interests of their clients. Though no outcomes under the law can be guaranteed, victims of sexual harassment can approach their legal struggles with confidence when they have the help of trusted employment law attorneys.