What is a Hostile Environment?
A hostile work environment is a situation in which an employee is suffering from working in an environment in which discrimination,
harassment, or unsafe practices are taking place. These situations can involve companies where there is an "environment" of discrimination, such as pin-up style posters, or ongoing jokes, cartoons and other activities that slur a specific race, religion, gender, country of origin, disability, sexual orientation, belief, or other personal quality. Many different factors can make the workplace an uncomfortable place to be, whether it is teasing or rude and unnecessary comments, as an employee you should not have to be subject to such poor treatment.
Any environment where an unpleasant repeated action makes it impossible for you to perform you normal job duties could be deemed as hostile.
A hostile environment can also include a place of employment where workers are put in risk of injury or fatality. Employers are required by law to provide their employees with a work site that is safe and free of any known dangers that could cause serious harm. If they fail to uphold their responsibilities, they could be creating an unlawful work environment for their employees. Sometimes the discriminatory actions are not directed at the individual but pervade the entire company, making the workplace hostile for those who are targeted, and even those who are not that feel empathy for the targeted segment of the public. If you feel that you are working in an environment that is engaged in discriminatory actions, an attorney can assess your situation and help you understand your legal rights and options.
Contrasting California Labor Laws
Not all challenging work environments are illegal, but many of them can be a direct contradiction of the standards that are set by the state labor laws. These rules dictate a certain level that must be adhered to in regards to health and safety, compensation, working hours, benefits and how employees are treated. Forms of discrimination are a large issue, along with harassment. When a worker is placed in a hostile environment, not only may they need to take action to put an end to the immoral treatment, they may have a legal right to do so under the state law, as well as the federal law. If you are facing issues at your place of employment it is a wise decision to report the incident at the office, keep a record that dates and describes events, seek any witness accounts, keep copies of any related information and make sure to even keep a copy of the complaints you have filed.