Employment Law FAQs

What creates a hostile environment?


A workplace which is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult, which is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the worker’s conditions of employment and create an abusive working relationship. Factors that the courts use to determine whether or not the environment is sufficiently hostile to justify bringing a lawsuit include the following kinds of things:

1. The frequency of the conduct,
2. The severity of the conduct,
3. Whether the conduct is physical or verbal,
4. Whether it unreasonably interferes with a worker’s performance, and
5. The effect of the conduct on its victims.

The harassment must be objectively abusive and the worker who files the complaint also must experience it as abusive. Only workers who are in a hostile environment based on their race, color, creed, sex, place of national origin, age, or condition of disability, can bring a civil rights complaint. Workers who are being mistreated for other reasons, whether fair or unfair, do not have the option of bringing a lawsuit. They can seek assistance through internal company processes or quit.

What is illegal discrimination?


Illegal discrimination is making a difference in treatment, at least in part, because of race, color, creed, sex, age, place of national origin, or condition of disability or pregnancy.

If I file for workers' compensation, my employer will find a reason to fire me. Is there any protection available if I get fired for using workers' compensation benefits?


Yes. It is illegal to retaliate against someone for making a workers' compensation claim.

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