Five Signs of a Hostile Work Environment

Lots of people dread going to work. For some, they’d simply rather be home or on vacation, but others have darker reasons for their dread. A hostile work environment can be toxic for employees and can cause serious misery that makes them feel trapped and frustrated. If you are dealing with a hostile work environment, you may be able to take legal action, but how do you tell the difference between a hostile workplace and a workplace you simply do not enjoy?

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that “petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents” do not make for a hostile work environment. By EEOC standards, a hostile work environment is one in which unwelcome conduct makes employees feel “uncomfortable, scared, or intimidated.” The following are signs that you may be enduring a hostile work environment:

  1. You or a coworker are discriminated against based on a protected characteristic. Protected characteristics include race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability or genetic information.
  2. You or a coworker are enduring sexual harassment such as unwanted touching, sexual jokes, and love letters. You may also be repeatedly asked on dates or asked for sexual favors. You may or may not be told you will receive a bonus or promotion in exchange for romantic or sexual attention.
  3. You or a coworker are threatened with violence or violence is actually carried out against you. 
  4. You or a coworker are ridiculed or victimized with cruel jokes, insults, and other humiliating behavior that leaves you feeling frustrated and embarrassed.
  5. You have a gut feeling. Sometimes when you know, you just know. An experienced employment attorney can help you verbalize the reasons for how you are feeling and decide on the right course of action. 

If you think what you’re enduring might be considered a hostile work environment and want to take action to stand up for yourself and your coworkers, the DeWitt Law team is here to help you. We have extensive experience working on hostile work environment cases, giving us the knowledge and skills we need to guide you through this difficult time. If you want to discuss your situation with us, we are eager to speak with you. Contact us today to learn more about what our team can do to help you.

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DeWitt Law

Michael W. DeWitt is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer who has litigated cases in most Ohio counties and in various federal courts across the country. He has argued appellate matters in Ohio appellate courts, and in the Fourth and Sixth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeal. After representing corporate clients in employment disputes for over 20 years, Mike now represents employees in harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and restrictive covenant cases and uses the knowledge gained from defending those cases to help clients evaluate and pursue their employment claims. He also represents business clients in breach of contract and other business disputes.
About DeWitt Law

Michael W. DeWitt is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer who has litigated cases in most Ohio counties and in various federal courts across the country. He has argued appellate matters in Ohio appellate courts, and in the Fourth and Sixth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeal. After representing corporate clients in employment disputes for over 20 years, Mike now represents employees in harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and restrictive covenant cases and uses the knowledge gained from defending those cases to help clients evaluate and pursue their employment claims. He also represents business clients in breach of contract and other business disputes.

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