Monday, April 12, 2010

Are you in a hostile workplace?

If you have been in the work force for any time at all, the odds are good that you have been in some unpleasant situations created by coworkers or managers. However, when can that unpleasantness be considered to create a hostile workplace? What are your remedies to combat a hostile work environment?

What is Considered a Hostile Workplace?

The concept of and remedies against a hostile workplace were created with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title VII which provides employee defense against “unwelcome verbal or physical conduct” against those who are in a protected class. The protected classes include harassment based on: race, gender, national origin, or disability.

There are two criteria for determining if the conduct applies:

  1. If it is ongoing and pervasive enough to be considered to create a hostile work environment OR
  2. If the harassment is done by a supervisor and if it could have an impact on the employee’s benefits or employment status.

Signs of a Hostile Workplace

Are inappropriate or derogatory comments made to you or about you on a repeated basis and your requests are ignored? Keep in mind that you may find some coworkers’ comments offensive that do not fall in one of the protected classes. Do coworkers or supervisors fail to keep appropriate physical boundaries and engage in inappropriate touching that makes you feel uncomfortable?

Read the rest of the article about a hostile workplace