Texas Hostile Work Environment Attorneys
The stresses involved in many people’s jobs, as well as the attitudes of their supervisors, lead many people to believe that they might have hostile work environment claims. In truth, a work environment is not considered legally hostile unless the employer is committing some form of discrimination.
In other words, a boss who is equally miserable toward all employees might create a miserable work environment, but not necessarily one that is hostile. A hostile work environment usually involves some kind of discrimination based on an employee’s age, gender, race, national origin, or disability.
Has your employer engaged in a form of discrimination that constitutes a hostile work environment? If your employer is unresponsive to your request to take corrective measures, you should strongly consider seeking legal representation.
Leichter Law Firm PC helps people all over Texas who are working for employers violating the law. You can have our Texas hostile work environment lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (956) 205-0884 or complete an online contact form to set up a free consultation.
Do I Need A Hostile Work Environment Lawyer?
When you know that you are working in a hostile work environment, you can try to handle the issue on your own with your employer. Some people can get their employers to recognize the offending behavior and effectively tamper it out, but many others get little to no reactions from their employers.
Some employees may notice specific retaliatory tactics by their employers, such as new assignments involving less desirable work or even reductions in hours. Proving a hostile work environment can often be an extremely challenging proposition for most people.
An experienced attorney will know what constitutes a hostile work environment as well as how to prove it. The lawyer can take steps to make sure that your employer is held accountable for discriminatory tactics.
You want an attorney because they will be able to immediately conduct an independent investigation to collect vital evidence relating to your case. The lawyer can also act on your behalf in any settlement negotiations so you can recover as much compensation as possible.
Why Choose Leichter Law Firm PC To Handle My Case?
The Texas employment law attorneys of Leichter Law Firm PC represent clients in a wide variety of job-related matters, and our firm has secured numerous verdicts and settlements on behalf of discrimination victims. We have recovered millions of dollars for workers all over Texas.
Founder Louis Leichter is a recipient of the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a peer rating denoting the highest level of professional excellence. David Langenfeld is among the less than 1 percent of licensed attorneys Board Certified as a Specialist in Labor and Employment Law.
Our firm will work closely with you throughout your entire case so you never feel like you are alone. We have a friendly and dedicated support staff that is always available to answer any questions you might have.
Leichter Law Firm PC also represents clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that you only pay legal fees when you receive a financial award.
Types of Hostile Work Environment Cases We Handle
In Jones v. Flagship International, 793 F.2d 714, 719-20 (5th Cir. 1986), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a plaintiff must show the following to establish a claim against an employer for a hostile work environment:
- The employee belonged to a protected class
- The employee was subject to unwelcome sexual harassment
- The harassment complained of was based upon sex
- The harassment complained of affected a term, condition or privilege of employment
- The employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt remedial action
While Jones concerned a sexual harassment case, the same five requirements will apply to other types of hostile work environment claims, such that those based on a different form of harassment will also involve proving that an employee was subject to that form of harassment and the harassment was based on another factor, such as age, gender, race, national origin, or disability.
The possible remedies for a hostile work environment case will depend on the specifics of a particular case. In some instances, courts may order injunctions to prevent future harassment, but other cases can involve awards for back pay, front pay, and other compensatory damages.
Hostile work environments can be very challenging situations for people to correct on their own. It can be confusing trying to determine who to file claims with or what actions to take, which is why it is always in a person’s best interest to retain legal counsel in these types of matters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is responsible for creating a hostile work environment?
A hostile work environment can be created by any employee in the workplace, not just the employer. A hostile work environment can be the creation of co-workers just as it might be the result of actions of people who are not even employees, such as independent contractors or regular customers. The bottom line remains that the employer is the party responsible for ceasing all actions creating a hostile work environment.
Do offensive jokes constitute a hostile work environment?
They can. The simple truth is that a significant number of things that people might say in jest could be viewed as particularly inappropriate in the workplace. Jokes that involve issues of age, gender, race, national origin, or disability can indeed be viewed as discriminatory by others, and people telling the jokes in the workplace may be creating a hostile work environment.
Is an employer vicariously liable for a hostile work environment created by a supervisor?
Yes. The United States Supreme Court held in Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, 118 S. Ct. 2257 (1998), and Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 118 S. Ct. 2275 (1998), that employers are subject to vicarious liability for unlawful harassment by supervisors because the employer is responsible for the acts of its supervisors and should be encouraged to prevent harassment while employees are encouraged to avoid or limit the harm from harassment. The Supreme Court held that an employer is always liable for a supervisor’s harassment when it involves in a tangible employment action, but an employer can avoid liability or limit damages only by proving it exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any harassing behavior, and the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.
Hostile Work Environment Statistics
The nonprofit organization RAND released a study in August 2017 that found almost one in five American workers were exposed to a hostile or threatening social environment at work. According to RAND, almost three-fourths of Americans reported either intense or repetitive physical exertion on the job at least a quarter of the time, and over one-half of Americans reported exposure to unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions.
While RAND reported 62 percent of respondents held jobs with tasks that were are typically monotonous, 82 percent involved “solving unforeseen problems” and 85 percent involved “applying own ideas.” Another 70 percent said that their jobs involved complex tasks and 84 percent said their jobs involved learning new things.
The RAND study found that 58 percent of American workers described their bosses as supportive and 56 percent said that they had very good friends at work, but only 38 percent said their jobs offered good prospects for advancement. According to RAND, four out of five American workers reported that their jobs met at least one definition of “meaningful” always or most of the time.
According to a 2000 study by the Workplace Bullying & Trauma Institute, 16.8 percent of workers are subject to bullying in the workplace. The study stated that the bullies were bosses in 81 percent of cases, and 77 percent of bullying cases involved neither the bully nor the victim being the member of a protected status group.
The study also reported that 41 percent of bullying victims were diagnosed with depression. More than 80 percent of respondents said bullying prevented them from being productive at work.
According to the Workplace Bullying & Trauma Institute study, women and men each make up 50 percent of the bullies, and the average age of a bully is 44. In 81 percent of cases, the bully was a person who ranked higher than their target, the bully had the same ranking as the target in 14 percent of cases, and 5 percent of cases involved bullies ranked lower than their targets.
Women comprised 77 percent of bullying targets, and 84 percent of those cases involved female bullies as opposed to 69 percent of cases involving male bullies. The employers broke down as being 35 percent corporate employers, 33 percent government, 13 percent small or family-run business, and 19 percent nonprofit organizations.
Contact a Texas Hostile Work Environment Attorney Today
If you are working in a hostile work environment, you do not have to tolerate an employer’s inaction. You have the right to work in a setting that is free from discrimination, and your employer could be liable for failing to correct a hostile work environment.
Leichter Law Firm PC handles employment law cases for clients throughout Texas, including hostile work environment claims. Call (956) 205-0884 or contact us online to have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free consultation.