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What is a Hostile Work Environment?

Categories: Employment, Article

Video Transcript:

Hi, my name is Jeff Silence.  I'm an associate at Jaburg & Wilk and I primarily do employment law.

What is a Hostile Work Environment?

It's a legal term of art that we use in employment law.  What it means is that an employee is being subjected to discriminatory treatment and that the terms of their working conditions are being altered, usually by their supervisor or co-employee.

What Should I Do if I am Being Discriminated Against?

First you should start by complaining to HR or an appropriate member of management if there is no HR and there's several reasons to do this.  First, HR may take action to protect you and end the harassment.  For example, HR could separate you from the manager or terminate the manager if it finds that he was indeed harassing you.  Second, it is important to put your employer on notice about what is going on because if you were to file a lawsuit and your employer could prove that it didn't know you were being harassed and had no reason to know you were being harassed, the employer may prevail on that lawsuit.  Third, you may insure yourself some job security because HR or your manager should know that it's illegal to terminate an employee who files a complaint with HR.


 About the Author: Jeffrey E. Silence is an attorney at Jaburg Wilk. He focuses his practice in employment law and represents both employers and employees to navigate these and other difficult issues.