No one can expect their workplace to be completely free of office politics, interpersonal disagreements, or any of the other things that unfortunately accompany working with other people. You can expect, however, that your workplace will not become a hostile work environment.
Per ForensicNotes.com, a large number of the upleasant things that occur at work are just that. They fail to rise to the level of hostile work environment.
To prove hostile work environment, you must prove not only that one or more of your coworkers targeted you for harassment, but that (s)he or they did so because of one or more of the following:
- Your race
- Your religion
- Your age if you are 40 or older
- Your gender
- Your disability
- Your national origin
In addition, you must prove that his, her or their actions affected you so negatively that you cannot effectively perform your job.
In order to file a hostile work environment lawsuit against your employer, you must first file your complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It will investigate your allegations and, if it determines that you have met the applicable charge-filing requirements, it will give you the go-ahead to file your lawsuit.
Your best interests dictate that you keep a written record of the harassment you endure. For each and every occurrence, note the following:
- The name(s) and position(s) of the perpetrator(s)
- The dates on which (s)he or they harassed you
- The type(s) of harassment (s)he or they engaged in
- The name(s) of any other employees who observed it
- The way it made you feel
- How it resulted in your inability to successfully perform your job
Also document the person(s) in your company to whom you complained about the harassment, the date(s) on which you did so, and what, if anything, (s)he or they did to attempt to alleviate the situation.