Five Signs of a Hostile Work Environment

Five Signs of a Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment created by discriminatory language or actions is unlawful under state and federal law in Illinois. When discrimination results in a hostile work environment, it may be possible for the employee who is the subject of the discriminatory behavior to file a claim or for other employees in the workplace who are impacted to file a claim. A hostile work environment typically arises from unlawful harassment that is so severe or pervasive that it results in what a reasonable person would consider a hostile work environment. Sometimes, a single action or statement may be severe enough to create a hostile work environment. As the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains, a hostile work environment can involve harassing conduct “that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.”

Hostile work environments can involve harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, or many other characteristics. How can you know if you are in a hostile work environment such that you should talk to a lawyer about filing a claim? The following are five signs of a hostile work environment to consider.

  1. Harassment on the Basis of a Protected Characteristic

Harassment can produce an unlawful hostile work environment when the harassment is severe or pervasive and when the harassment is on the basis of a protected characteristic or identity.

  1. Unlawful Discrimination

Workplaces where unlawful discrimination occurs, including sexual harassment, are often places with a hostile work environment.

  1. Toxic or Abusive Working Environment

A toxic workplace is not always one with a hostile work environment, but toxicity is a common sign of a hostile work environment. Bullying often occurs in toxic workplaces, as does unnecessary competition and other cutthroat behavior.

  1. High Turnover Rate

A high turnover rate alone is not enough to prove that the work environment is hostile or intimidating, but workplaces where there is a hostile work environment often have a high turnover rate. Employees do not want to work for employers where they must do their jobs in a toxic work environment, and that work environment often impacts the overall culture, such that many employees try to leave and find new jobs.

  1. Lack of Inclusivity

While it may be difficult to prove a lack of inclusivity, you may notice that certain employees are routinely asked to be involved in workplace activities while others are not. In some cases, preferential treatment could be unlawful if the employer gives preferential treatment to employees of a certain sex, race, religion, or other identity factors.

Contact an Illinois Employment Discrimination Attorney

If you believe you are in a hostile work environment at your place of employment, you should get in touch with an experienced Illinois employment discrimination lawyer who can evaluate your case. We can provide you with more information about filing a claim, and we can represent you in a hostile work environment claim under state or federal law. Contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline to learn more about how we can help.