One way to make a successful workplace discrimination claim in Indiana is to prove is that you were subjected to a hostile work environment. Working for an overly demanding boss alongside lazy and rude coworkers in a run-down workplace can certainly make your job unpleasant. But those sorts of things usually don’t create a hostile work environment as the law defines it.
What “hostile work environment” means
Under federal anti-workplace discrimination law, a “hostile work environment” is one in which you experience discrimination based on one or more prohibited categories called “protected classes.” These include your race, age, gender, color, religion, disability or birth country. The discrimination can take many forms but must be pervasive and severe to the point that it makes a reasonable person would find it abusive. Common examples include:
- Comments, insults and “jokes”
- Failure to hire, promote or train you based on your membership in a protected class
- Displaying or sharing offensive photos, videos, cartoons, etc.
- Sabotaging your work
The more frequent and severe these incidents were, the more likely you can show that you were in a hostile work environment. Other factors include how physically intimidating or humiliating the incidents were; how they affected your mental health; how much they interfered with your work; and whether the harassment came from your supervisor, boss or other superior.
If you are questioning what you went through…
You might wonder if what you experienced is “bad” enough to count as workplace discrimination. If you are asking yourself that question, the chances are good that you have been the victim of illegal workplace misconduct. This is unacceptable, but the damage to your career and life can be compensated in court.