Hostile and intimidating work environment
Ultimately, it is critical that you consult with an attorney early on if you think you have been subject to harassment or a hostile work environment because the deadline to report discrimination is only 45 days. Some employees believe that a bad boss, an unpleasant work environment, a rude coworker, failure to qualify for a promotion, or the lack of perks, privileges, benefits, and recognition can create a hostile work environment.To put it more directly: as the harassment becomes more severe judge’s will require less instances of the harassment to support a finding of actionable discrimination.Additionally, physical violence, clearly offensive conduct, or group harassment will shift the balance in favor a conclusion of a hostile work environment.Typically the “mere utterance of an ethnic or racial epithet which engenders offensive feelings in an employee would not affect the conditions of employment to a sufficiently significant degree to violate Title VII.” , EEOC Request No.05960416 (May 22, 1997) (a supervisor’s disparaging and racist comments to complainant, in conjunction with prior comments by the supervisor demeaning to other protected classes, was sufficient to justify an AJ’s finding of discrimination).in your shoes would find the work environment hostile or abusive too.So, if your hostile work environment claim rests on the fact that your boss doesn’t say please and thank you whenever they talk to you–your claims will likely fail.
Obviously, each case is different, and the EEOC recognizes that a “hostile work environment harassment takes a variety of forms, many factors may affect this determination, including: whether the conduct was verbal or physical, or both; how frequently it was repeated; whether the conduct was hostile and patently offensive; whether others joined in perpetrating the harassment.” Brew v. 137 (March 19, 1990) (“A ‘hostile environment’ claim generally requires a showing of a pattern of offensive conduct.”).Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.Essentially, harassment occurs when a person suffers consistent and unwanted, and objectively offensive, conduct at work as a result of their membership in a protected class.However, as you can see above not only must the environment be intimidating, hostile, and/or offensive, the hostility you are enduring .
This means that if your boss is a jerk to everyone including you, you won’t have a hostile work environment claim–the harassment must be based on your membership in legally recognized protected class.A bad boss contributes particularly to an environment that employees may see as hostile.