In Ohio, an employee can sue for a hostile work environment when they face discrimination by their boss or coworkers’ actions. These malicious actions must be associated with the employee’s age, gender, religion, race, disability, or other. The job of an employee becomes impossible when their boss or coworker acts discriminatory. Ohio’s legal system provides employees the means to fight back against unlawful intimidation.
Even though it is questionable that the employer will be held liable for this type of harassment, they are responsible for their employees once they are informed of a hostile work environment. The employees can file a lawsuit for a hostile work environment, discrimination, or harassment.
Both of the following two standards determine the severity of an abusive work environment:
- Objective standard: The behavior is found abusive by any reasonable person
- Subjective standard: The employee facing the issue considers the behavior abusive
An employee must prove that the actions were severe or pervasive to establish a hostile work environment claim. The courts will decide if the environment is hostile, considering all the circumstances along with the severity of the actions.
Most people face stress at work at various levels. However, if the level of stress becomes extreme, causing psychological injury, you may be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation.
If you or someone you love suffer psychological injuries from a hostile working environment, you should consult a Cleveland workers’ comp attorney.
Working in a hostility free place is not too much to ask. However, people facing bullying at work are a lot. The effect on a person’s mental and physical health may be severe.
Employers should also be aware of the negative results of an unhealthy work environment. Such working conditions can make employees unhappy and unproductive.
Definition Of A Hostile Work Environment
It is imperative to understand what constitutes a hostile work environment from a legal perspective. Not all bullying at work cases is unlawful. Federal, state, and local employment statutes forbid discrimination based on many elements, such as race, sex, disability, and religion. Harassment based on any protected group of people is defined as discrimination.
Discrimination is prohibited nationwide based on the following characteristics:
- National origin
Further to these, there are some state and municipal employment statutes with broader protection coverage than federal law. These statutes also protect categories like marital status, sexual orientation, and gender expression.
The federal employment discrimination laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC defines a hostile work environment as unwelcome behavior based on a protected category that is severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would find it to be abusive, hostile, or intimidating. When harassment is based on a characteristic not protected by federal law, it cannot be determined as unlawful. It will be considered unlawful only under the state’s jurisdiction, city, or town where it is protected.
Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination and is unlawful across the country.
Workplace bullying entails conduct that the victim did not invite or welcome.
There is not a particular legal definition for “unwelcome.” However, there are times when bullying at the workplace is so obviously cruel that anyone could perceive the conduct as unwelcome. “Unwelcome” behavior may be generally characterized by the following:
- The victim did not initiate the interaction
- Once the conduct was initiated, the victim did not encourage it
- The victim rejected the conduct
Nevertheless, an employee receiving unwelcome behavior may not react, especially if the harasser is their supervisor.
Severe Or Pervasive Conduct
A hostile work environment claim must be supported with evidence proving an ongoing pattern of hostile behavior that resulted in a cumulative effect on the recipient. A single incident may be described as an annoyance unless it is extremely serious. However, ongoing abuse may result in unwillingness or fear to go to work. The court is using the term “severe or pervasive.”
The Standard Of A “Reasonable Person”
The law uses the reasonable person standard to define whether the conduct was hostile or abusive. If a reasonable person under similar circumstances finds the behavior hostile or abusive, it can support the hostile work environment claim.
Contact A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer In Ohio
If you or someone you love are experiencing a hostile work environment, you should seek advice from a workers’ compensation attorney. Call us at Workers’ Compensation Lawyers law firm for your free consultation. Our team of experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can help you understand your rights and protect yourself.