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How to identify a hostile working environment

As a worker in Pennsylvania, you should be able to go to your job each day without fear of being injured, harassed or abused. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you are entitled to work in a safe and secure environment, as stated in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. At Neaton & Puklich, P.L.L.P., we know that having to work in a hostile environment day in and day out may be emotionally traumatizing, and could make it difficult for you to perform well at your job.

Not all unsatisfactory workplaces can be labeled as hostile. For instance, having a heated disagreement with a co-worker can make it hard to go to work, but it doesn’t necessarily qualify as a bad working environment. Other situations that may be uncomfortable, such as having a personality clash with your boss or working with management that shows favoritism towards certain employees, may not be considered hostile either. Workplace harassment goes much further. In some cases, the level of harassment may push you to resign from your position.

The EEOC points out that the following situations may contribute to a hostile work environment:

  •          Intimidation, name calling and threats made on a regular basis
  •          Offensive pictures, gestures and/or language shown at work
  •          Physical assaults or threats of assault made
  •          Discrimination based on race, sex, disability, age and/or sexual orientation

Not only is the harasser to blame for creating a hostile work environment, but the employer is partially liable as well. It is up to the employer to ensure that all workers are properly trained on the subject of harassment and that everyone has access to a safe workplace.

Our page on difficulties in the workplace can help to provide you with more information.

 

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