You Have a Right to Feel Safe at Work
Employers have a legal obligation to protect employees and maintain a safe work environment that is free from unnecessary intimidation, and harassment. A manager, supervisor, or colleague that continually offends, insults, threatens, or intentionally intimidates an employee based on their sex, race, religion, gender identification, pregnancy, age, or disability can create a hostile work environment that significantly impacts an employee’s production and success. Federal and state laws protect workers from this type of harassment and discrimination.
The Atlantic County employment lawyers at Levine, Staller, Sklar, Chan & Brown, P.A. have extensive experience helping victims of hostile work environments claim the justice they deserve. Our lawyers work diligently to protect the legal rights of their clients and ensure that they claim the maximum amount of compensation available to them through punitive and compensatory damages.
Federal and State Protections Against a Hostile Work Environment
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) provide protection from discrimination based on an individual’s race, nationality, sex, gender identification, orientation, pregnancy, age, disability, religion or family status. When an employee is subjected to repeated harassment, intimidation, stress, verbal insults, inappropriate or offensive language, or unwanted sexual advances or touching at work by a supervisor or colleague, the employer has a legal obligation to remedy the situation immediately. If the employer fails to do so, they are in direct violation of federal and state laws.
The NJLAD specifically protects employees from discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, nationality, national origin, ancestry, marital status, age, civil union status and domestic partnership, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identification, and mental or physical disability. A hostile work environment is created when an employee is repeatedly treated unfairly or exposed to offensive and inappropriate language, images, and physical or mental abuse directly related to one or more of these legally protected classes.
It is important to note that a hostile work environment is not typically created by any one instance, but rather persist over a period of time. The discriminatory or offensive behaviors from the employer, supervisors, or colleagues may be habitual, and done with the intent to offend, harass, or intimidate an individual. The stress of a hostile work environment can affect job performance, physical health, and emotionally stability of the victim.
Discriminatory behavior that creates a hostile work environment can take many forms. Racial or ethnic slurs, jokes, and derogatory social media posts can lead to an employee’s stress in the workplace. Taunting, insults, or negative comments about a person’s religion or age can create a workplace that is stressful and intimidating. Inappropriate language, comments of a sexual nature, unwanted touching or groping, and pornographic materials brought into the workplace are also forms of workplace discrimination and harassment.
Filing a Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit
Hostile work environment claims are difficult. The burden of proof falls on the plaintiff to show that the harassment, intimidation, or discriminatory actions were directly related to their inclusion in one of the protected classes. Stated differently, the victim must show that the conduct occurred because of their protected status. The victim must also show that the discriminatory behaviors and harassment were severe or pervasive, and directly impacted their ability to function in the work environment. Severity deals with how offensive an act is, while, while pervasiveness deals with their frequency of the conduct.
When an employee believes they are a victim of a hostile work environment, it is imperative they follow the employer’s policy on reporting such actions. If the employer fails to address or sufficiently remedy the situation, then the employee can file a lawsuit. It is also wise for the plaintiff to consult with an experienced employment lawyer who can ensure that their legal rights are protected, and they claim the maximum amount of compensation available.
Atlantic County Employment Lawyers at Levine Staller Help Victims of a Hostile Work Environment Claim Compensation
If you may have been a victim of a hostile work environment, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the experienced team of Atlantic County employment lawyers at Levine, Staller, Sklar, Chan & Brown, P.A. at 609-348-1300, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout the state, including those in Atlantic County, Cape May County, and Ocean County.