Harassment Based on Race, Religion, Age, National Origin, Disability, Gender or Any Other Protected Category
Actionable harassment is not limited to sexual advances. Harassment can also be in the form of a hostile work environment by co-workers or by supervisors based on an employee’s race, religion, age, national origin, disability, gender or any other protected category. Whether the harassment is actionable largely depends on how serious the harassing conduct is and how often the behavior occurs. Generally speaking, the less severe the behavior, the more pervasive it needs to be to be considered actionable harassment. Harassment in the workplace often goes unreported. When the harassed employee fails to follow company procedures in reporting harassment, courts will sometimes disallow an employee’s claim. It is therefore very important that a harassed employee look at the employee handbook or at the employer’s harassment policy and report the harassment to the person or people that the policy says to report the harassment to. Once reported, an employer has an obligation to end the conduct. The law also prohibits the employer from retaliating against the employee who complains of harassment. If you need advise on how to do this, feel free to call us for information free of charge. If you have been retaliated against for complaining of harassment, call for an appointment or call to just speak with an attorney. A hostile work environment hampers growth and stability in the workplace, wasting time for employees and employers alike. Over the years we have seen hundreds of employees suffer from workplace harassment and have witnessed first-hand the negative effects it can have on the quality of life for all parties involved. Unwelcome comments or conduct, based on a protected characteristic, create an antagonistic and unfriendly setting that impedes the facilitation of growth and the healthy advancement of business objectives.
What is considered harassment?
Harassment can take many forms from offensive race based comments to treating members of one race or other category to open and offensive hostility not given to employees outside of the protected category. Treatment of this type can be actionable when it is based on race, national origin, age, disability, religion, gender or any other legally protected characteristic when the behavior affects work performance or creates an unhealthy or intimidating environment.
Case law provides some standard examples of non-sexual harassment in the workplace:
- The use of racially derogatory words, phrases or labels
- Racial or ethnic demonstrations that may offend a particular racial or ethnic group
- Remarks about a person’s skin color or other racial/ethnic characteristics
- Negative comments regarding an individual’s religion, or lack thereof
- Derogatory age comments
Harassment claims require proof. Gaining the correct evidence and factual information needed to effectively present a legitimate workplace harassment claim can be a draining and laborious process. If you feel that you have been harassed in your workplace environment and that a hostile situation has been created as a result of this unfavorable behavior, contact us to discuss the specifics of your case. As each situation is unique, all individuals are strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel to determine the nature and severity of their personal situation, which is why we offer a free consultation. Contact Thompson Legal Center at 813.769.3900.