Hostile work environment is a term that you may have heard used on many different occasions, but in most instances, the workplaces people are describing do not actually meet the legal definition of hostile. If you do find yourself in a hostile workplace, help is available. Consult with a labor attorney in San Jose, CA to find out if your workplace meets the criteria for being considered a hostile work environment and what you can do to fight for your rights.
Characteristics of a Hostile Work Environment
A work environment in which you have a bad boss, lack of access to amenities, and coworkers who don’t help shoulder the burden of the work may be unpleasant, but it doesn’t legally qualify for a hostile work environment. To be considered a hostile work environment, your workplace must include a boss or coworker that interferes with your ability to do your job through discriminatory communication or behavior.
In other words, rude behavior does not make a work environment hostile, but sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination do. Although these discriminatory behaviors are themselves prohibited by law, when they are severe and occur for an extended period of time, they contribute to the creation of a hostile work environment.
Strategies for Overcoming a Hostile Work Environment
As a first step, it is generally recommended that employees who think that they have a hostile work environment address the issue with the offending party or with the human resources department. It can be helpful to keep a record of discriminatory behavior so you can provide specific instances. The person who is engaging in the hostile behavior should be notified in writing by human resources or a manager that his or her actions are unacceptable.
If the matter is not corrected internally, then bring your case to an employment law attorney. He or she will decide the best way for you to proceed to protect your rights. Keep in mind that whistleblower laws protect you from retaliation if you do file a complaint.
Federal laws prohibit religious discrimination in the workplace against both employees and job applicants. These laws forbid an employer from considering a person’s religious beliefs when making decisions about hiring, promotions, wages, and other employment conditions. An employment law attorney in San Jose, CA can help you build a case against your employer if you think that you have been targeted because of your religion. Here is a closer look at what protections are put in place by the federal laws.
Legal Definition of Religious Discrimination
Religious discrimination laws restrict discrimination against anyone on the basis of his or her membership in a traditional, organized religion, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The law also extends protections to members of non-traditional religions who sincerely hold ethical and moral beliefs tied to those religious communities.
Employers cannot discriminate against employees on the basis of these beliefs, nor can they target employees for discrimination based on the religion of employees’ spouses or friends. If you are unsure if religious discrimination protects extend to you, consult with an employment law lawyer.
Types of Discrimination
Religious discrimination can take many forms. During the hiring process, an employer cannot refuse to hire someone solely on the basis of his or her religion. For current employees, employers cannot make decisions about employment conditions, including position, salary, shifts, promotions, or firings, based on religion. Finally, workers are protected from harassment in the workplace on the basis of their religions, including from offensive remarks. If you are experiencing this kind of discrimination at work, keep a record of the incidents to share with an employment law attorney.
Reasonable Accommodation Requirements
Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to allow employees to honor their religious beliefs. This can include flexible scheduling to allow an employee to take time off for a religious observation or proving space and time during a shift for prayer in accordance with religious practices. Employers must also make reasonable accommodations to allow employees to dress and groom themselves in ways that are in keeping with their beliefs, such as wearing a headscarf or yarmulke or avoiding certain types of clothing.
One often-overlooked area of workplace discrimination is age discrimination . This involves refusing to hire someone or passing over someone for promotion on the basis of his or her age. If you think that this is happening to you, an employment law attorney in San Jose, CA may be able to help.
Find out more about age discrimination in this video. Age discrimination can be particularly problematic during the hiring process, but that doesn’t mean that you are entitled to hide your age from a potential employer. Instead, if you feel as though you missed out on a job for which you were qualified because of your age, discuss your situation with a labor attorney, who can help you determine if you should file a lawsuit to protect your rights.
The Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, allows employees to take unpaid time off from work for qualified medical reasons, from childbirth to a surgery. Each year, an employee is entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA leave, but there are instances in which an employee can be terminated while on FMLA. If you have been fired while on FMLA leave, were you the victim of wrongful termination or did your employer have the right to end your employment? The best way to know for sure is to contact a wrongful termination attorney in San Jose, CA, who can review your case. Here is a look at what you need to know.
It is unlawful for an employer to fire someone for taking FMLA, unless they do not follow the proper protocol for taking leave or they take leave for an ineligible reason. You may also be fired while on FMLA if your employer can demonstrate that your termination was already planned before your leave or if he or she can prove that you had significant, documented performance and absenteeism issues before your leave. If you are terminated, allow a wrongful termination attorney to examine your case and determine if you should pursue legal options.