You spend a large portion of your day at work, so the environment you work in should be one in which you feel safe and protected. Your employer has a legal responsibility to you and other employees to provide a strong working environment.
If you are dreading going to work every day because of the offensive comments and actions of your coworkers and supervisors, you may have a valid claim against your employer for hostile work environment.
What is a hostile work environment?
Not every unpleasant work experience meets the criteria for a hostile work environment claim. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you may have a valid claim against your employer if:
- You have been subjected to harassment (e.g., lewd comments, threats, or inappropriate jokes)
- The harassment is pursuant to one or more protected characteristics (race, gender, etc.) or discriminatory in nature
- The harassment has been ongoing and severe in nature
- A reasonable person would find the work environment abusive or hostile
- There is a reason for employer liability
Your Minnesota employer may try to claim that you did not report the incidents as required by company policy or that it took reasonable action to remedy the situation when you did report it. It will be your responsibility to show that you reported the incidents, but your employer failed to take reasonable steps to address the issue.
Proving that your work environment is hostile is not easy. It is not enough to say that you have rude coworkers or that your workplace is not a comfortable place to work. An employment law attorney can help you collect and present the evidence you need to prove your case.