Hostile Work Environment
Federal laws and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) protect employees from harassment in the workplace. A hostile work environment is one where employers, managers, supervisors, or coworkers are permitted to repetitively offend an employee with unwanted racial, physical, or sexual comments, physical contact, or abusive actions.
Workers that experience a hostile work environment have the right to file suit against an employer that does not take corrective action to stop the harassment, or who retaliates against an employee once the harassment is reported.
The Marlton employment lawyers at the Burnham Law Group, LLC are dedicated to protecting the legal rights of New Jersey employees. The experienced team of employment lawyers at the firm work tirelessly to help victims of a hostile work environment claim the justice and compensation that they are entitled to under federal and New Jersey laws.
Employees that are subjected to unwanted and repetitive harassment have the right to hold their employers liable for the stress and trauma they have endured, as well as lost wages and potential future income they would have received if they were unlawfully demoted or terminated.
What is a Hostile Work Environment?
A hostile work environment exists when an employer fails to take corrective action to stop harassment and discrimination that is reported by an employee.
Employers, managers, supervisors, and even colleagues can create a hostile work environment when repetitive and unwanted behaviors affect a worker’s ability to perform their job responsibilities effectively and efficiently.
These behaviors include:
- Sexual Harassment: Unwanted comments, physical contact, communication, or gestures of a sexual nature are all forms of sexual harassment. An employee that is asked to endure this type of behavior can feel threatened and intimidated. When the harassment comes from an employer, supervisor, or manager, an employee may feel that their job or position in the company will be affected if they report the actions. When colleagues are responsible, the worker may be hesitant to report the harassment for fear of retaliation. A sexually harassed employee may begin to experience stress and trauma related to the harassment that begins to affect their work performance or attendance.
- Discrimination Against Protected Classes: Federal and state laws protect workers from being discriminated in the workplace on the basis of religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identification, pregnancy, disability, or national origin. Employers that permit demotion, termination, or fail to interview, hire, or promote employees in relation to these protected classes are in violation of federal and state laws. The NJLAD addresses these matters extensively.
- Crude and Offensive Language: Employees have a legal right to expect a work environment that is professional and free from offensive language. Cursing, off color jokes, racial slurs, demeaning or insulting comments towards other employees or supervisors, and unprofessional street slang are inappropriate in a work environment. Repetitive use of this type of language can create a hostile work environment.
- Professional Interference: Supervisors, managers, or coworkers that deliberately interfere with a worker’s professional product in an attempt to promote themselves are guilty of workplace harassment. Repetitively taking credit where credit is due from another employee, intentionally modifying another worker’s product, or being dishonest about the contributions of coworkers is harassment.
- Physical Violence or the Threat of Physical Violence: A worker that is physically harmed or believes the threat of physical harm is real is working in a hostile environment. All workers have the right to work in an environment that is safe and free from unnecessary hazards. Victims of repeated violence or threats of violence in the workplace have the right to bring suit against an employer and the responsible employee.
Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit
Victims of a hostile work environment should carefully follow the policies and procedures for reporting harassment set by their employer. When employers fail to stop the harassment, victims should contact an experienced Marlton employment lawyer to file a hostile work environment lawsuit. The employment laws surrounding this type of claim are specific and best left for an experienced employment lawyer to navigate.
To file a successful lawsuit, victims must be able to prove:
- The unlawful behavior was repetitive
- The harassing or discriminatory behavior was initiated and repeated by the same person or group of people
- The effect of the harassment or discrimination negatively affected their job performance
Victims must also prove that the hostile work environment violated the NJLAD and federal laws that protect workers from discrimination based on age, race, religion, gender identification or sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, or marital status.
Marlton Employment Lawyers at the Burnham Law Group, LLC Advocate for Victims of a Hostile Work Environment
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a hostile work environment, call the Marlton employment lawyers at the Burnham Law Group, LLC at 856-751-5505, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Marlton and Somers Point offices serve clients throughout Southern New Jersey, Camden County, Burlington County, and Atlantic County.