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By Louise Herman

Starting a new job is an exciting time in your life. However, after you’ve been at the company for a while, you may dread going to work. Whether you have been the victim of discriminatory jokes or have witnessed threats of violence between co-workers, working in a hostile environment can have negative impacts. However, you don’t have to suffer in silence because a Providence, Rhode Island hostile work environment lawyer is ready to help you bring your case to light.

What Are the Signs of a Hostile Environment?

Though gossip among co-workers or the occasional passive-aggressive email can be annoying, they don’t qualify as creating a hostile work environment. Generally, a workplace is considered hostile when the following occurs:

  • Jokes or comments about a protected class
  • Sexual harassment
  • Intimidation or threatening comments
  • Physical assault
  • Name-calling
  • Sharing inappropriate content

Generally, these behaviors need to be repeated to create a hostile work environment. Though one-time instances are not okay, the frequency of the events will be considered in determining the severity of the situation.

A workplace becomes hostile when it impacts a person’s ability to work, meaning you don’t have to be the victim of harassment to file a workplace harassment suit. Also, harassment can occur from anyone in a company, including employees and clients.

How Do I Ask For Help?

If the environment you work in is hostile, there are steps you’ll need to take in order to protect yourself.

You should report instances to a supervisor or human resources department after reviewing your company’s complaint procedure. Giving leadership the opportunity to investigate and address the behavior is essential. However, if they do not take appropriate or prompt action, they can also be held responsible by contributing to the behavior.

Generally, you’ll want to document all instances of hostility, including the time, date, offender, offense, and witnesses to the event. You should avoid keeping this information at work, instead store it in a safe place at home.

When Should I Contact a Lawyer?

If you have reported the hostility to your supervisor and nothing has changed, you’ll want to reach out to a lawyer. You deserve to work in a safe environment, and if co-workers or management are preventing that from happening, it’s imperative that you reach out to a professional.

A hostile work environment impedes your ability to work and move up in the professional world. However, you can file a lawsuit against your employer for hindering your ability to work in a safe place and condoning a hostile environment due to their lack of action.

When you’re feeling scared, anxious, or afraid to work due to the behavior of others, don’t wait to contact The Herman Law Group. We can help review your case and examine the evidence to fulfill the burden of proof surrounding your case.

About the Author
At Herman Law Group, our focus is on safeguarding the rights and careers of employees and businesses alike. With over 35 years of successful legal practice, Louise A. Herman brings an invaluable dual perspective from representing both employees and employers. This unique insight allows us to effectively achieve successful outcomes for our clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and nationwide.