What is Workplace Hostility? 5 Common Examples

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Employees often misdiagnose workplace hostility as every slight annoyance or grievance they experience at the office. In a legal sense, workplace hostility is a lot more serious than finding your manager a nagging annoyance.

Typically, a work environment can be explained as hostile in a legal sense if the behavior is discriminatory concerning a protected class and in accordance with the law against discrimination.

Moreover, the behavior must be pervasive and/or persisting. In addition, the employer must be fully aware of the situation yet fails to address the concern adequately. The employee conduct must negatively impact the victim’s ability to fulfill their job role.

With this, if you are not entirely sure if you are experiencing workplace hostility, it’s wise to consult an experienced lawyer to evaluate your case for you.

Professional workplace lawyers in LA are well-versed in guiding employees through these challenging and tricky situations.

That said, we’ve listed some of the more common examples of workplace hostility to help you understand the sense of the term in a legal context.

Sexual Conduct

Unwanted sexual behavior can be explained as telling sexually explicit jokes, sending photographs of nude individuals, watching pornography in the workplace, and repeatedly asking the victim on dates despite the victim rejecting the advances.

In addition to these examples, sexual conduct can also be explained as unwelcomed comments about physical appearances, unwanted touching, and even vulgar remarks regarding sexual orientation or gender.

Any pervasive sexual behavior that is persistent, which makes an employee feel uncomfortable, can be considered sexual harassment.

Racial Slurs And Insensitive Terms

Any use of racially derogatory terms, even when used in a joking manner, will contribute to a hostile work environment.

Offensive and insensitive terms and slurs that bash protected classes such as race, gender, and sexual orientation can be considered discrimination under employment law. 

Age Discrimination

Suppose you’re over the age of 40 and you are refused a job or a promotion due to this fact, you can file a case of discrimination against your employer.

Moreover, if your superiors persistently ignore you for internal opportunities due to your age, you can also file a complaint for age discrimination.

Aggressive Behaviors

Even though it’s not illegal to be aggressive, aggression towards another employee or subordinate is a major red flag of workplace hostility.

Aggression and anger in the workplace are present as verbal or nonverbal, but both examples are alarming to any co-worker and add to workplace hostility.

Unhealthy Competition

Another blatant example of workplace hostility is unhealthy competition. Suppose your management team is encouraging a severe level of competition which directly fosters an environment in which employees are attempting to harm one another or stunt one another’s growth. In that case, this indicates a hostile work environment.

If you are experiencing workplace hostility, the best course of action is to consult an employment lawyer.

Be advised that you must bring valid evidence of the experience, so record any hostile encounters before the consultation. That said, it’s also wise to choose the right law firm to handle your case for you.

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