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Recognizing the signs of a hostile work environment

Federal and Idaho employment law provides you the right to take legal action if you are subjected to a hostile work environment. It’s important to fully understand what constitutes a hostile work environment under the law.

Employment law and definition of a hostile work environment

Employment law on the federal and state level define a hostile work environment in a similar manner. Such a workplace is one in which the actions or words of a supervisor, manager, other superior or coworker significantly impact your ability to perform your job. An employee, supervisory or otherwise, can be deemed responsible for creating a hostile work environment.

Three-part test to identify a hostile work environment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, has established a three-part test used to identify a hostile work environment. The three parts include the following:

  • The harassment, unwelcome conduct or commentary is based on race, gender, national origin, age, disability, genetics or pregnancy.
  • The behavior is continual and long-lasting.
  • The behavior is severe enough that the work environment becomes offensive, abusive or intimidating.

Filing a claim

Navigating a complaint founded on a hostile work environment is an emotionally charged, legally complex and procedurally challenging endeavor. One procedural misstep, such as missing a filing deadline, and you may lose your ability to pursue a valid claim. The complexity of successfully navigating a hostile work environment complaint underscores the need to retain the services of an experienced employment law attorney.

An attorney may review your case to determine if it meets the criteria for filing a claim. Your attorney may also help you collect and present evidence to support your claim of a hostile work environment. If you have questions about your legal options, ask your attorney about the next steps.