People may genuinely or ironically allude to their terrible workplace when they use the phrase “hostile work environment” and claim they may be entitled to compensation! However, working in a hostile environment goes beyond simply being dissatisfied with your job. A victim of persistent, unwelcome, and objectively unpleasant workplace harassment who is the subject of the harassment because they belong to a protected class may choose to file a claim for a hostile work environment.

Therefore, in order for a claim of a hostile workplace to be effective, several highly particular criteria must be satisfied. Here, we’ll go through those components in further detail.

For more information on the best legal path for your situation, speak with a Paramus employment attorney.

What constitutes a hostile workplace claim?

For an allegation to succeed, five crucial elements of hostile work environments need to be proven in federal court. 

  • The claimant must first establish their membership in a legally protected class. Classes that are covered include those based on criteria like gender, religion, race, national origin and more.
  • The claimant must demonstrate that they were the victim of harassment to satisfy the second requirement of a hostile work environment claim. Inappropriate verbal or physical behavior directed at individuals due to their membership in a protected class constitutes harassment.

  • In reality, the claimant must demonstrate that the complaint or harassment was based on their statutorily protected class to satisfy the third requirement of a hostile work environment claim.
  • To satisfy the fourth requirement, the claimant must demonstrate that the harassment affected a term or condition of employment, had the intention or effect of unreasonable interfering with the workplace, or resulted in an offensive work environment.

  • A claim that there is a foundation for impugning obligation to the employer must be accompanied by supporting evidence for the last component.

Alternatively, there is a good reason why the employer should be held liable for the hostile work environment that the claimant endured. For instance, if the employer was aware of the harassing behavior and did nothing to prevent it, then the employer could be responsible for it.

The employer still has the chance to defend themselves if all conditions for a hostile workplace claim are satisfied. It must be demonstrated by a majority of evidence that the employer took reasonable steps to prevent and swiftly address any harassing behavior.