Every working American has the right to a safe, hostility-free work environment. When this is threatened and a workplace becomes hostile due to any type of discrimination, parties who have been victimized have the right to file lawsuits against their employers who have caused, encouraged, or failed to act against these discriminatory behaviors.
What is a Hostile Work Environment?
A hostile work environment is defined as any workplace where an employee or group of employees feels threatened or intimidated due to the actions of his or her colleagues or supervisor. Examples of actions that create a hostile work environment are harassment, wage disparities between employees of different races, and the refusal to promote employees of a certain race regardless of their qualification.
The harassment or other unfair treatment must be frequent enough to negatively impact an individual’s job performance for it to be considered to be discrimination. In most cases, one minor utterance of a racial slur is not grounds for a discrimination suit on its own. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 defines the type of environment that may be considered a hostile work environment. In addition to stipulating that the harassment must be a regular occurrence, it also states the recognized protected classes against discrimination and that the behavior cited must be objectively discriminatory. That means that a reasonable employer must be able to examine the behavior and know that it is hostile.
Hostile Work Environment due to Race Discrimination
Despite our country’s varied, ever-changing population, racial discrimination in the workplace is a problem that continues to plague modern America. Discrimination comes in many forms and can be targeted at any individual. When harassment and other forms of discrimination occur, the workplace becomes known as a hostile work environment.
Harassment is one of the most common forms of race discrimination. Comments about an employee’s skin color, eye shape, hair color and texture and body type as well as perceived strengths and weaknesses associated with their race are all forms of racial harassment.
You Have the Right to a Hostility-Free Work Environment
RCW 49.60.030 states that it is illegal to discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or disability status in the workplace. If you have experienced racial discrimination or other forms of hostility at your workplace, you have the right to file a complaint against your employer without fear of retaliation from the company.
Hostile Work Environment Attorneys Can Help
If you’ve experienced hostility in your workplace and need help developing your case with the guidance of an experienced employment attorney, call HKM Employment Attorneys LLP at 206-838-2504. Our team of attorneys has years of experience working in employment law in Washington state. We’re here to assist by helping you combat all forms of workplace discrimination you’ve experienced.