Hostile Work Environment Attorneys Based in Miami, Florida
A hostile work environment may be created by communications, actions or behaviors from colleagues, members of management or third-parties that alter the terms and conditions of an employee’s work environment. For the workplace to be considered hostile under the law, the inappropriate conduct generally must go beyond casual joking or rude comments. In addition, it must be based upon a characteristic that is protected under the law, such as race, gender, or national origin.
There are federal, state, and local laws that prohibit this type of treatment in the workplace. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) and the Florida Civil Rights Act (“FCRA”), both of which apply to employers with 15 or more employees. Similarly, Miami-Dade County employers that have 5 or more employees could be subject to these claims.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has explained that a hostile work environment exists where “the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult, that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of … employment and create an abusive working environment.” Gowski v. Peake, 682 F.3d 1299, 1311 (11th Cir. 2012). Whether this test is met depends on the facts of each case. Claims of hostile work environment are proven through circumstantial evidence and the courts consider all aspects of the situation, including the frequency and severity of the allegedly hostile behavior.