Do you constantly feel oppressed at your workplace? Do you feel harassed and intimidated every time you go to work? Is the intimidation beginning to affect your ability to work? You may be working in a hostile work environment.
What is a Hostile Work Environment?
The Kansas Department of Labor outlines workplace laws and procedures that your employer must follow. These do not mandate that the company owner, manager, or co-workers be kind or courteous to you. What these laws do prohibit is a hostile work environment in which constant hostility, oppression, intimidation, or harassment affects an employee’s ability to work. It may be as a result of hostility by your employer or harassment by your co-workers. Either way, Kansas law protects you from having to work in such an environment.
There are a number of incidental actions that may contribute to creating a hostile work environment for you. These actions cover areas of law such as discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, or harassment.
Under the Kansas Acts of Discrimination statutes, unfair, unequal, or different treatment on account of race, sex, age, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or national origin is prohibited.
Offensive comments or slurs because of age, sex, or race can amount to discrimination. When it begins to impair your ability to be effective in the workplace, you may be in a hostile work environment.
Harassment consists of constant prejudicial treatment on account of a protected status. This may be as a result of your age, sex, race, or national origin.
One of the most common forms of harassment is sexual harassment. It consists of inappropriate contact, grabbing, sexual slurs, or innuendo. If your employment is being threatened because you have refused to have relations with your boss, you are likely in a hostile work environment.
Any form of bad conduct done toward you because you filed a proper complaint about unlawful conduct at your workplace can constitute retaliation. For instance, if you served as a witness against your employer at an unemployment or discrimination hearing, you may be targeted for retaliation. This may be either by your employer or co-workers. If your employer or co-workers constantly exhibit bad conduct towards you because of this, you may be in a hostile work environment.
While Kansas is known as an ‘at will’ employment state, meaning you can be fired for any reason or even for no reason, if your employer is trying to make you quit by exhibiting bad conduct towards you, his or her actions may constitute constructive discharge.
It could consist of unfair treatment that is geared towards making you quit so that your employer does not have to pay out an employment contract. It could be in order to build a file against you to show that you deserve to be fired. Your employer may also be trying to gain an advantage over you in an anticipated legal dispute.
These types of situation that may lead to a hostile work environment can and often do overlap. If you are not sure that you fall into any of the above situations, you need to get in touch with a lawyer to help you make sense of your situation.
Have Questions About Your Legal Rights While Working in a Hostile Work Environment? Speak to a Workplace Discrimination Lawyer in Kansas City
If you are being subjected to harassment or discrimination as a result of a hostile work environment, now is the time to reach out to HKM Employment Attorneys. Our legal team stands ready to help and provide assistance.