Proving A Hostile Work Environment in Texas

Texas Hostile Work Environment Lawyer

Each workplace has its quirks, and although disagreements are natural in any social interaction, a consistently hostile work environment is not only unfair, it goes against a handful of labor laws.

Hostile work environments can be illegal in the U.S. under equal opportunity ordinances. The workplace should not be difficult or uncomfortable due to discriminating or harassing behavior. Under core parts of civil rights legislation as well as the Texas Labor Code, workers are protected from common dynamics that make for a hostile workplace.

To be considered a hostile work environment, the behavior must be severe or pervasive enough to change the conditions of the work. Such harassing behavior may involve derogatory comments, hateful speech, inappropriate language or jokes, direct insults, or any other form of hostile behavior.

Workplace harassment is never ok, and those who become victims of it may be a part of a protected class. Protected class status depends on race, nationality, age, gender, sexuality, disability, or religion.

To prove a hostile work environment, the complainant must show that they are a member of a protected class and experienced discrimination due to their protected class status.

If you find that offensive behavior, harassment, or hostile conduct makes it difficult to do your work, you may be experiencing a hostile work environment.

If you feel harassed on the job because you belong to a protected class, get in touch with our legal team today. We offer lawyers specialized in hostile work environment laws that can help address your grievances and protect your rights. Call 210-361-8043.

What Is a Hostile Work Environment?

Any harassment or bullying is unacceptable in the workplace. However, a rude boss or coworker likely won’t meet the legal definition of a hostile workplace. To successfully complain about harassment or discrimination at work, illegal behavior or severe workplace hostility must be present.

A hostile work environment is one in which an employee experiences discrimination, bullying, intimidation, or humiliation at work because of their sex, race, ethnicity, or other personal characteristics.

Employers are responsible for stopping hostile environments in the workplace. Legal violations that occur in the workplace could give you grounds to sue your employer.

To be considered a hostile work environment, workplace harassment needs to meet the criteria. To establish this claim, it needs to be proven that there is severe or pervasive harassment at your place of work. It is not unknown for a single incident to meet the severe or pervasive qualification.

Harassment from a management figure that then results in unfavorable consequences such as losing your job, wrongful termination, a salary decrease, pay cut, or being denied a promotion, can be a sufficient reason to file a hostile work environment claim.

Common Instances of Workplace Hostility

Workplace hostility can be of a minor or severe level. There are many different types of workplace harassment, but all forms involve some sort of unwanted and unwelcome behavior that makes the victim feel intimidated, insulted, or humiliated.

Sexual Harassment

The most frequently seen cause of a hostile work environment is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can be perpetrated by any gender onto any gender.

There are many forms of sexually harassing behavior. For example, asking people for their number, suggestive remarks, inappropriate touching, using sexually explicit words, catcalls, unwelcome conduct, and explicitly asking for sexual favors.

Discriminatory Harassment Against a Protected Class

Protected class status extends to people of a certain race, national origin, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or religion.

Instances of workplace discrimination can involve the following:

  • Name-calling
  • Using a racial slur
  • Inappropriate comments about age, disability, or other personal factors
  • Mimicking an accent in a derogatory way
  • Displaying racially offensive material
  • Inappropriate remarks about age or sexual orientation

Workplace Bullying

Bullying can quickly become present in the office and come from any person on your team. It can range from subtle to extreme, and be perpetrated by a person’s boss, coworker, customer, or regular visitor to the company. The Texas Human Resources Code handles cases of bullying in the work environment.

An instance of workplace bullying may involve:

What is Severe and Pervasive Behavior?

Workplace harassment must be classified as either “severe or pervasive” behavior. To figure out which kind it is, courts typically consider all the specific circumstances of these behaviors in the case.

Both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state laws have standards for what qualifies as severe or pervasive conduct. To file a complaint or take legal action, it must be shown that the behavior was severe or pervasive. Less severe or isolated instances may not be enough to file a hostile workplace lawsuit.

If you feel that you are being harassed, but are unsure if it’s substantial enough to file a claim, contact an attorney to determine if you should pursue legal action. A lawyer can determine the best course of action for you, such as contacting your human resources department.

How Can You Handle Workplace Hostility?

If you are experiencing any form of hostility at work and cannot resolve the situation on your own, it is important to reach out to a supervisor or HR for help. They may be able to take a closer look at the problem and make decisions that fix the issue over time.

If you have experienced workplace harassment and believe it is illegal, you can report it to your employer, file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or file an official lawsuit. To ensure justice, gather as much evidence as possible and keep a detailed record of the behavior you’ve seen from the individual in question.

It’s important to know that there are hostile workplace laws that protect workers from unfavorable environments. Speaking with a lawyer can help you understand your rights, distinguish your case, and file your claim and lawsuit.

Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Claim?

According to federal law, you have up to 300 days to file a legal claim if you’ve been the target of hostile workplace behavior. However, In texas, you have 180 days to file a sexual harassment claim if that was the type of hostility you experienced.

Strict deadlines can be a big challenge. Getting in touch with an employment lawyer can assure you are filing the right paperwork at the right time. If you’ve been the victim of harassment at work or experienced a hostile environment where you work, we advise speaking to one of our Texas employment lawyers at The Galo Law Firm promptly.

How to Prove a Hostile Work Environment Case in Texas

Report the Behavior to Your Employer

As soon as a hostile work environment arises, you should report it to human resources or any other relevant department. Avoiding to report may lessen the strength of your case, and the harasser could continue harassing you in the meantime.

However, keep in mind it can turn into a serious lawsuit when you’re considering taking legal action or filing charges against the boss, co-worker, or colleague who harassed you.

Take Detailed Notes of What Happened

To make your accusation stand, you’ve got to prove it. It’s important to gather evidence, such as photos, recordings, screenshots, text messages, notes, and social media comments. It’s best for evidence to show a place, time, and date.

Gathering evidence is crucial if your employer or HR doesn’t take the matter seriously. The right to pursue legal action rests on your ability to provide such evidence. We encourage you to seek expert advice from an attorney as soon as you suspect that you may have a claim.

Gather Witnesses

Talking to colleagues before reporting the harassment can strengthen your case. It’s common for harassers or bullies to victimize multiple people, and you may also find employees who witnessed the hostile behavior.

If you are not confident in your ability to be an effective witness, find someone who can be. If the behavior continues after speaking with other employees and documenting the harassment, it’s time to report it.

Consult with an Employment Lawyer

If your employer is unhelpful after reporting a hostile workplace, you can take the matter to the next level. Talk to an employment lawyer who’ll assess the merits of your case and provide expert legal advice.

An employment lawyer can assess the severity or pervasiveness of the situation, and begin establishing your case.

Contact The Galo Law Firm

If you live in Texas and have been a victim of a hostile workplace based on discrimination, harassment, or any other unlawful reason The Galo Law Firm can help.

Our experienced lawyers have faced employment law for 30 years and are committed to defending Texas workers’ rights. We can connect you with our team of skilled attorneys to handle your hostile work environment lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve.

At the Galo Law firm, we pride ourselves on our commitment to our client’s well-being. We understand that every client is unique and each case deserves personalized attention.

Harassment at work can be a nightmare but we’re here to help. Contact us today call 210-361-8043.

Covid 19 Notice:

Office open during these times and available via video conference or Skype if necessary.