Hostile Work Environment Lawyer Columbus, Ohio

What Constitutes a Hostile Work Environment in Ohio?

Work can be particularly challenging or difficult on certain days or during busy periods. While it’s common to face challenges at work, especially in situations where you may not get along with a coworker or when a supervisor exhibits occasional rudeness, you should not be showing up to work expecting to be subjected to a hostile work environment.

But, what exactly constitutes a hostile work environment in Columbus, Ohio? Below, we take a closer look at what constitutes a hostile work environment and how Ohio law defines a hostile work environment.

What does an Ohio hostile work environment mean?

To begin with, let’s clarify the concept of a hostile work environment is. A hostile work environment arises when any type of harassment or discriminatory behavior occurs with the purpose of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance. This type of behavior ultimately creates a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the harassment or discriminatory behavior or conduct must be “severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider” as hostile. In other words, a one-off comment or general rude behavior may not be sufficient to create a hostile work environment.

The conduct must be “sufficiently severe or pervasive” enough to cause a hostile work environment. Isolated comments are NOT enough.  This definition is confusing and is constantly changing so contact a hostile work environment lawyer in Columbus, Ohio today.

What Does the State of Ohio Consider a Hostile Work Environment?

The definition of a hostile work environment can be confusing at time, particularly because the definition of a hostile work environment must be evaluated on a case by case basis. So, how does the state of Ohio define a hostile work environment?

As expected, Ohio’s definition aligns with the general definition mentioned above. To further define specify what constitutes a hostile work environment in Ohio, it is beneficial to understand the types of harassment or discrimination protected under federal law as well.

Harassment and discrimination rising to the level of a hostile work environment are typically based one of the following protected characteristics:

  • Disability
  • Age
  • Genetic information
  • National origin
  • Race
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Religion

Employees are also protected against hostile or intimidating conduct based on retaliation for actions such as reporting harassment or discrimination, requesting accommodation for a disability, filing an EEOC complaint, or reporting illegal activity.

In order to establish a hostile work environment claim, it is necessary to demonstrate that the harassment or discrimination is based on one of the above protected characteristics or activities.

How to Recognize a Hostile Work Environment

While incidents like irritating comments and isolated events generally do not qualify as a hostile work environment, a brief overview of offensive behavior that can create a hostile work environment are listed below.

Offensive behavior or conduct may include:

  • Slurs
  • Insults
  • Name calling
  • Offensive jokes
  • Ridicule and/or mockery
  • Intimidation
  • Physical assault
  • Threats of physical violence
  • Offensive pictures, objects, or messages
  • Interference with job duties and overall work performance

Harassment that creates a hostile work environment can originate from coworkers, direct supervisors, supervisors in other areas, or even non-employees.

If you notice behavior or conduct directed towards you that you believe may be creating a hostile work environment, make sure to thoroughly document each and every incident. This This involves noting the details, identifying the individuals involved, recording dates and times, and preserving evidence like messages, emails, screenshots, and more.

If you are uncertain if you are dealing with a hostile work environment, reach out to an employment lawyer. A hostile work environment lawyer in Columbus, Ohio can review the details of your situation and guide you on next steps, such as filing a report with your employer.

 Who can report a hostile work environment in Ohio?

  • The victim can report a hostile work environment but others who are not subjected to the harassment can report it as well.
  • The victim can be someone who is not directly subjected to the sexual harassment but is someone that because of the conduct directed at another person (usually a co-worker) is subjected to a hostile work environment.
  • If you feel you are being subjected to a hostile work environment, report it to your employer immediately. Make sure you document your report, to substantiate your claims and for proof that you reported.

Contact Our Ohio hostile work environment lawyer today. We offer free consultations.

The Friedmann Firm, LLC, an employment and personal injury law firm based in Columbus, Ohio has been assisting clients statewide since 2012. The Friedmann Firm’s team is comprised of experienced Columbus employment lawyers who work to ensure that employees are treated fairly in the workplace. Their work includes handling employment agreements, wage and hour violations, discrimination, and hostile work environment cases – among others.

With a comprehensive understanding of employment law at the state and federal level, The Friedmann Firm takes pride in being able to they offer free and confidential consultations, emphasizing an experienced and innovative approach to educate and represent clients. You can call The Friedmann Firm at 614-610-9755 or connect with us online today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.