Workplace Discrimination

An environment is "hostile" when managers or co-workers are engaging in discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult, which is sufficiently severe or pervasive to change the worker's conditions of employment and create an abusive working relationship. The harassment must be objectively abusive and the worker who files the complaint also must experience it as abusive.

Important: Unless the harassment is based on race, sex, religion, national origin, physical disability, and age it can not generally be the basis of a lawsuit.

Factors that the courts use to determine whether or not the environment is sufficiently hostile to justify bringing a lawsuit include the following kinds of things:

  • Frequency of the discrimination or harassment behavior
  • Severity of the discrimination or harassment
  • Whether the discrimination or harassment is physical or verbal
  • Whether the discrimination or harassment unreasonably interferes with a worker's performance
  • Affect of the discrimination or harassment on its victims.

Workers who are in a hostile environment based on their race, color, creed, sex, place of national origin, age, or condition of disability, can bring a discrimination or harassment complaint.