Legal definitions for a hostile work environment

If you are like many members of the Missouri workforce, you may show up to your job each day expecting less than favorable treatment from your boss, another superior or a colleague. In some cases, putting up with such situations is something you just have to deal with, but in others, such as when discriminatory actions make it virtually impossible for you to do your job, you may have legal recourse. At Hollingshead & Dudley Trial Lawyers, we have a firm understanding of what legally constitutes a hostile work environment, and we have assisted many employees who were struggling to stay productive in the workplace because of related issues.

Per The Balance, for your work environment to be hostile in the legal sense of the word, the behaviors or actions taken against you must meet several specific criteria. They must be discriminatory in nature, meaning they involve treating you unfavorably because of something that is legally a protected right.

For example, your employers and colleagues may not discriminate against you because of your race, age, religion or pregnancy status, among other examples. Furthermore, the actions or behaviors taken against you must happen repeatedly and affect you to a considerable extent. They must also be severe in nature to the extent that they prevent you from performing your job duties as you would otherwise.

In many situations, the strength of a hostile work environment case relies on how much documentation you have of the issue at hand. Therefore, it is wise to document any perceived instances of a hostile work environment in order to demonstrate a pattern, and it is also smart to report such instances to your company’s human resource department to ensure a paper trail. More information about employee rights and related issues is available on our web page.  

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