Employee Rights Against Hostile Work Environment

employee rights against hostile work environmentWhile employees may not enjoy high-pressure workplaces or uncomfortable situations, several elements must be present before Arizona employee labor laws are broken. Workplace hostility is an unfortunate mainstay in many factories, offices and some government organizations. What separates “uncomfortable” from “hostile” are violations of FLSA (Federal Labor Standards Act), Civil Rights, EEOC and Arizona statutes.

Let’s look at what rights are afforded to aggrieved employees in hostile workplaces.

Employees have the right to equality

Workplace discrimination should be taken up with Arizona employment law attorneys without question. In order for actions to be construed as “discriminatory”, they must violate constitutionally protected rights. Race, gender, creed, color, nationality, religious preference and sexual orientation cannot be the basis of withholding promotion opportunities, hiring persons or firing them.

According to Arizona statute, unlawful employment practices that breach one’s right to equality also include segregation, which includes classifying persons as contractors or freelancers based on the aforementioned Civil Rights afforded to all American workers.

Employees have the right to not be harassed

Pervasive harassment, even consistent verbal or physical harassment that culminates over time, are civilly actionable offenses provided substantial proof is available to substantiate claims. Proof may take the form of obvious marks on body, witnesses who have heard numerous episodes of verbal harassment, or video cameras that recorded sexual or physical harassment.

While the principles of harassment are clear, what’s unclear is how numerous employers get away with consistent abuse for so long. If an employee knows of any abusive behaviors transpiring at work, or endures harassment themselves, reporting to law enforcement or an attorney should be top priority. Out of fear, oftentimes isn’t not.

Employees have the right to request help

Although employers are encouraged to prevent workplace hostility and harassment in all forms, oftentimes they’re complicit to these activities. Employees who fear reporting hostility will initiate retaliatory action should consider asking for help from outside sources, including law firms, EEOC, or law enforcement if actions are criminal.

Many legal avenues are afforded to employees fearful of working another day. Pursuing those avenues requires the courage to stand up, phone an attorney, and let them guide you in what direction best applies to your situation.

Click here for more information on what to know about hostile work environments in Arizona.

Take These Steps to Report Workplace Hostility

Resolving your personal workplace nightmare may be integral in helping others avert future suffering. In doing so, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  • First, document your experience over one or several weeks. Note names, times and places where harassment took place, or when hostility peaked.
  • Make every concession possible to address the activities with perpetrator(s); asking them to stop often works, even if you need to raise your voice so others hear.
  • Request help from HR department. They may be perpetrators themselves, or could be clueless this activity is prevalent. Either way, follow protocol and report the event(s) in writing, retaining a signed copy for yourself.
  • If that doesn’t grab anyone’s attention, file your grievance with EEOC. Field offices are scattered throughout Arizona, although complaints can be filed via internet here. Retain a copy of that complaint, too, and any confirmation numbers or “thank you” messages displayed once submitted.
  • Once all avenues are exhausted, filing a civil complaint may be your only recourse. An employment law attorney can assist in filing such action, with compensation possible if verifiable damages were done.

Hostility in Arizona workplaces happens more frequently than you realize. From Winslow to Yuma, employees are harassed, fired without justification, mistreated by members of opposite sex or physically abused.

If you’re entertaining filing civil action against your employer, make sure you’ve followed protocol. Cases may be dismissed if improper chain of reporting is detected.