What Constitutes a Hostile Work Environment
Daniel.Tan | March 31, 2024 | 0 Comments

What Constitutes a Hostile Work Environment in Ohio?

At both the federal and state level, there are specific laws in place that protect employees in the workplace. These protections apply to things like discrimination, harassment, wage and hour issues, and hostile work environments. A hostile work environment is an environment in which discriminatory conditions create a workplace that is uncomfortable, difficult, or even unsafe for an employee to work.

Different federal and state regulations like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 provide employees with protection against workplace harassment. But what exactly does a hostile work environment or workplace bullying look like?

Below, we are going to take a closer look at what constitutes a hostile work environment and what steps you can take in response to such an environment.

Disclaimer: The following is not legal advice. It is general information meant to inform. Please consult with one  employment lawyers for legal guidance.

What Are the 3 Elements That Characterize Hostile Work Environment Harassment?

While there are certain things that do not count as a hostile work environment, such as a coworker who is occasionally rude or abrasive, there are some specific things to look for when identifying a hostile work environment.

A hostile work environment will be one where harassment and/or discrimination is severe enough that it affects an employee’s ability to feel safe and comfortable when they come to work, though the presence of hostility alone will not be sufficient to support a claim. Three elements that commonly characterize hostile work environment harassment, as per the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), include:

  • Hostile behavior involving discrimination that is based on protected characteristics such as gender, race, disability, religion, sexual orientation, color, national origin, etc.
  • Ongoing conduct that becomes a condition of continued employment.
  • Conduct that is severe enough to create a work environment that any reasonable person would consider hostile, abusive, or intimidating.

To further expand on the protected characteristics from above, you might have legal grounds for a hostile work environment claim if you are experiencing discrimination or harassment based on your:

  • National origin
  • Military status
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Color
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability
  • LGBT status

If you believe you are facing hostility in the workplace, please reach out to a Cincinnati hostile work environment attorney today. We are here to help.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Hostile Work Environment in Ohio?

At the federal level, the deadline in which to file a complaint with the EEOC is 180 days. This deadline is extended out to 300 days “if a state or local agency enforces a state or local law that prohibits employment discrimination on the same basis.” For employees in Ohio, this happens to be the case.

The statute of limitations in which to file a hostile work environment complaint in Ohio is within 300 days from the date that discrimination occurs.

It is important to note that once the deadline passes, the CCRD will not have jurisdiction over the allegations. This is why filing a timely complaint is extremely important.

To read more about the time limits for filing a charge in certain circumstances, see the EEOC’s page.

How to Respond to a Hostile Work Environment and Workplace Bullying

There are several steps to keep in mind when you are responding to a hostile work environment and workplace bullying.

  1. Be sure to report discrimination and/or harassment as the guidelines in your employee handbook are laid out. You will typically want to detail behavior that you believe to be discriminatory or offensive.
  2. Following a report, your workplace should investigate your complaint and work to address the harassment.
  3. If your employer fails to address the harassment, you can move to file a complaint with the EEOC or the CCRD.
  4. You can also seek legal assistance from a Cincinnati hostile work environment attorney. We can assist you in filing a complaint with the EEOC and provide you with legal advice and representation throughout the entire claims process.

You will also want to keep records of harassment or discrimination once you notice it. This can include taking notes when something happens, keeping copies of any kind of hostile communication through emails or texts, writing your experience down, and even collecting contact information for anyone who is an eyewitness.

These records will serve as important evidence and help to establish the hostile work environment you have been dealing with.

Connect with an Experienced Cincinnati Hostile Work Environment Attorney

The Friedmann Firm has extensive experience handling a wide range of hostile work environment claims. Our team of Cincinnati hostile work environment lawyers specializes in employment law and is highly dedicated to ensuring that workers’ rights and protections are upheld. As a small firm, we take a dedicated approach to each case that we take on and we are committed to ensuring that you understand your rights.

If you believe that you are working in a hostile work environment and dealing with workplace bullying, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.

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