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Hostile Work Environment & Harassment

Need an employment law attorney for a harassment claim in Jacksonville?

Most workplace anti-discrimination laws prohibit employers from harassment of employees on the basis of a protected status or activity. The most common and well-known form of harassment is sexual harassment. However, statutes, that prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, and religion, also prohibit unlawful harassment, which can be grounds for a hostile work environment claim.

A hostile work environment includes unwelcome conduct or comments that are severe or pervasive such that the harassment alters the terms of employment and creates an abusive work environment.

In a hostile work environment case, an employee is subject to regular and offensive actions that for example may include negative:

  • Jokes
  • Slurs
  • Epithets
  • Acts
  • Images
  • Displays
  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Humiliation

In order for an office or job site to be considered a hostile work environment, the abusive, inappropriate, or unlawful actions must be made on the basis of a protected class status or activity.

Hostile work environments do not have to be directed at a particular employee but can slight a particular group. For example, if racially derogatory acts and comments are directed at a race in general of which an employee belongs, that employee may have a valid hostile work environment claim.

How to Take Legal Action

Regardless of the specific nature of the harassment, employees should know how and when to address such conduct with their employees. If not properly addressed, a harassed employee may find his or her job and career in jeopardy. On the other hand, a valid hostile work environment case can warrant significant damages against the employer.

Some of the damages can include:

  • Lost back pay
  • Lost front pay
  • Emotional distress damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorney fees

To speak with a Jacksonville employment attorney who is experienced in litigating hostile work environment claims, contact the Law Office of Shands M. Wulbern, P.A. Call to schedule a case evaluation with the firm.