Workers generally have the right to enjoy a workplace that is free from harassment. If harassment becomes pervasive, it may be possible for an employee to file a lawsuit against an employer. In some cases, a single incident could be enough to prove that a person was subjected to a hostile work environment. Individuals may be granted greater protection under state law than federal law, which means that some may have an easier time proving that harassment or discrimination occurred.
Examples of harassment or discrimination in the workplace could include making a comment about a person’s physical appearance or using racial slurs. Paying a woman less than a man for doing the same job could also be an example of discrimination.
It is important to point out that workers generally cannot be punished for reporting instances of harassment or discrimination. This is generally true whether a person is reporting his or her own experience or something that he or she saw happen to another worker. Common forms of employer retaliation could include demoting or terminating employees who report improper practices. Those who are planning on making a harassment or discrimination claim are encouraged to remember as many details of an event as possible. This may be done by writing key details down or saving copies of emails or other electronic communications.
Individuals who believe that they are subject to a hostile working environment may be entitled to compensation or other forms of relief from their employers. It may be possible to use payroll records, copies of emails or witness testimony to prove that significant or pervasive harassment occurred. An attorney may help gather or obtain evidence to obtain a favorable outcome in a workplace harassment or discrimination case.