Cincinnati workplace harassment attorney and Ohio hostile work lawyer define a Hostile Work Environment

Legal claims against employers have been on the rise in recent years, alleging instances of discrimination and harassment at the workplace that often lead to serious misconduct and ultimately terminations and lawsuits.

Employees who have experienced harassment at the workplace have the legal right to sue their employer under certain circumstances, and large financial settlements can help offset the damage caused by emotional trauma and the loss of a job.

However, while “hostile workplace” is a common phrase, few circumstances meet the legal definition required to file a successful claim. There are no federal laws that uniformly protect workers from bullying at the workplace, though there are protections for more specific kinds of harassment and discrimination based on age, religious affiliation, disability, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

Contact an Ohio hostile work lawyer to discuss possible settlements. Anti-discrimination and harassment laws protect employees from being treated negatively in matters of hiring, pay practices, promotions, and training opportunities.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati workplace harassment attorney and Ohio hostile work lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of workplace harassment claims. 

Types of Hostile Workplace Harassment

A hostile environment can be defined as unwelcome (unwanted) conduct of supervisors, co-workers, customers, contractors, or anyone else with whom and employee interacts with on the job, if the unwelcome behavior renders a workplace intimidating, hostile, or offensive. Examples of an unlawful hostile environment may include:

  • Overt Sexual Harassment
  • Telling jokes concerning race, sex, disability, and religious affiliation
  • Unnecessary personal touching
  • Comments on physical attributes
  • Presenting or posting sexual or racially insensitive images
  • Using indecent or crude physical gestures
  • Damaging or sabotaging an employee’s work
  • Engaging in hostile physical behavior
  • Immigrant Worker Abuse
  • Pregnancy Discrimination

Defining Workplace Harassment

Harassment is unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, harassment becomes unlawful when 1) offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the offending behavior is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that reasonable employees consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

Petty slights, jokes, and single incidents are typically not on the level of illegality. Offensive conduct may include slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.

Contact an Ohio Hostile Work Lawyer

Understanding when a workplace qualifies as being hostile is important for employers and employees. What can seem like harmless teasing can actually result in huge settlements for victims of constant workplace abuse. The potential liability of hosting a “hostile work environment” is complex and cannot be ignored.

Employers are encouraged to implement clear policies against harassment, and are responsible for not only establishing but also enforcing protocols for reporting and investigating complaints. Managers and employers who make a concerted effort to promptly and adequately resolve a complaint can save themselves substantial time and money, and can create a reasonable and comfortable work environment for all employees.

An employer is automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in a negative action such as termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages. If a supervisor’s harassment results in a hostile work environment, an employer can avoid liability only if they can prove that they reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior.

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If you work in a hostile work environment and have questions about the legal options available in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, an Ohio hostile work lawyer, and he will help you answer these critical questions.