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What is a hostile work environment?

Everyone has the right to a safe work environment. And these rights extend beyond the physical environment. They also include an employee's rights against workplace harassment and discrimination.

Persistent harassment, regardless of the type, can create a hostile work environment. However, how do you know if you are working in a hostile workplace? 

Elements of a hostile work environment

There are certain conditions that make up a hostile work environment. These factors include:

  • Consistent harassment against a protected status
  • Severe physical or verbal actions and threats
  • Disruption of daily work performance
  • Damage to the progress of your career

Whether the harassment targets one person or many people, the entire workplace can suffer from such negative behavior.

Sexual harassment in a hostile work environment

Sexual harassment is one of the most common forms of harassment in a hostile workplace. For example, if an employee files a sexual harassment complaint, the harassing party could quickly become aggressive at work. 

This kind of hostile workplace harassment often involves:

  • Inappropriate comments or terms
  • Crude remarks about coworkers' physical appearances
  • Unwelcome touching or physical contact
  • Insulting gestures or photographs on display

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission classifies this behavior as illegal employment discrimination. And these factors are reason enough to file discrimination charges against the offending party. 

You should not have to endure this

No employee in North Carolina should have to endure harassment and hostility in their place of work when they have a right to a fair work environment free of discrimination. Understanding the elements of a hostile work environment can help employees protect their rights and stand up to workplace harassment.

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