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Seattle Hostile Work Environment Attorney
It is unlawful for someone to create a hostile work environment for his or her peers through harassment, sexual harassment or employment discrimination. A hostile work environment is one in which a victim does not feel safe or welcome. If you are currently working in a hostile work environment, or have worked in one in the past, learn your rights as a victim. Contact the employment law attorneys at Zoldan Law Group PLLC for a free consultation. You may be eligible for legal reparations such as job reinstatement, compensation or back pay in Seattle.
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When Does a Workplace Qualify As Being Hostile?
Federal employee rights organizations such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) distinguish isolated events/simple teasing from hostile work environments. The threshold for filing a claim for sexual harassment or employment discrimination in the U.S. is that these actions negatively impact employment or create a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment. Understanding the official definition of a hostile work environment by law can help you learn when you may bring a claim in Washington state.
The meaning of the term “hostile” is broad, sometimes leading to confusion over what constitutes a hostile work environment. In general, the EEOC and state courts will rule on hostile work environments on a case-by-case basis according to the unique facts of each claim and the protected class. Formal definitions say hostile work environments are workplaces in which employees feel scared, intimidated, unsafe or unwelcome, typically due to harassment or employment discrimination based on a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Protected characteristics include sex, sexual orientation, religion, race, age, ethnicity, color and disability.
A hostile work environment goes beyond simply an unpleasant place of work. It is a workplace that causes one or more employees to feel uncomfortable or threatened enough to be unable to reasonably fulfill the duties of their jobs. Most hostile work environments involve one or more parties – such as employers or supervisors – breaching state and federal employment laws. Hostile behaviors at work can be illegal if they are discriminatory, harassing, severe or pervasive. If the issues you suffered at work meet these criteria, you may have grounds for a claim against your employer in Washington State.
Workers’ Rights Against Harassment and Discrimination
As the victim of a hostile work environment, you have the power to act against those responsible. State laws in Washington, as well as federal statutes, prohibit harassment and discrimination to the level of adverse employment decisions, intimidation, abuse or the creation of hostile workplaces. Your first action against a violation of these laws is to bring the issue to your employer’s attention, if you feel safe and comfortable doing so. Your employer should have internal processes to respond to and remedy the issue. If not, go directly to the EEOC.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission assists employees with sexual harassment and discrimination cases. You can request their assistance with a hostile work environment by filing a formal complaint. If the EEOC reviews your case and agrees to take remedial action, it may host mediation between you and your employer to try to find a solution. Mediation involves an unbiased third party that will help you and your employer settle matters. If mediation fails, you will then have the power to take the issue to court in Seattle.
You may be able to bring a hostile work environment lawsuit against the company that employs the perpetrator through the rules of vicarious liability, which hold employers responsible for the misconduct of their employees. Your claim could also be directly against your employer for knowing about the situation but failing to intervene, or for retaliating against you for reporting the issue.
Contact a Seattle Hostile Work Environment Lawyer
Discuss your case with a Seattle attorney at the law firm of the Zoldan Law Group PLLC for more details and legal advice. Our lawyers can help you or a loved one bring a claim against your employer and/or another party in pursuit of financial compensation. Legal action may enable you to move forward after suffering the consequences of working in a hostile environment. Call (480) 442-3410 or contact us online today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with an employment attorney.