Hostile Work Environment
Hostile work environment claims can arise when an employee is harassed at work. Claims often involve unwanted sexual behavior, where a purpose is to either interfere with the victim’s job performance or to create an intimidating or hostile environment.
For the victim, sexual harassment damages self-confidence and can have long-lasting psychological and career damaging effects. Employers with pervasive sexual harassment issues also suffer as a result. Not only are the claims difficult to prove (and defend against), but they also carry a stigma in the court of public opinion. Established businesses and growing companies want to avoid being found liable or complacent with regard to workplace harassment.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted sexual advances, gender-based animosity, sexually charged behavior in the workplace and other offensive conduct based on someone’s gender. An offensive act can still be harassment even if the complainant is not the intended target of the harassing behavior.
Hostile work environment claims can be brought against co-workers, supervisors, and vicariously to the company itself. Employers can find themselves embroiled in claims based on the alleged acts of a single employee. It is important for businesses to have established anti-harassment policies and established methods of addressing sexual harassment complaints. Harassment complaints should be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.
At Harvey & Binnall, we will work tirelessly to help your company develop proper procedures to avoid sexual harassment claims. If a claim has been raised, we can help you resolve the situation and modify your internal policies to prevent future incidents. If you believe you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment, Harvey & Binnall is ready to protect your interests and advocate for you.