Hostile work environment harassment in a workplace can happen anywhere, regardless of the type of work you do or the establishment or size of the federal agency by which you are employed. Moreover, harassment can cover a vast range of behaviors, including verbal, psychological, and sexual harassment, to name a few. Unfortunately, many victims of harassment in the workplace do not always know what sort of actions to take to protect themselves and, in some cases, leave their job or simply remain silent.
As uncomfortable and challenging as this situation may be, it is crucial to take the proper steps to report it. Continue reading to learn what you should do if you are being harassed at work.
What Is Workplace Harassment?
Workplace harassment is defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as “unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy), national origin, older age (beginning at age 40), disability, genetic information (including family medical history), and/or prior EEO activity. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.”
Common examples of workplace harassment include:
● offensive slurs,
● physical assault or threats,
● unwanted sexual conduct
● offensive pictures or objects, and
● interference with one’s work performance.
The definition of a hostile work environment is very broad, and the above list does not include all situations that may be classified as hostile work environments. Other situations could lead to a hostile work environment, such as online harassment by coworkers in group chats made to ridicule another employee or multiple unwanted online messages or threats.
The harasser can be anyone from a victim’s supervisor to another coworker or even a non-employee. Moreover, the victim does not have to be the individual being harassed — it can be anyone who was affected by this misconduct.
Reporting Workplace Harassment
If you are suffering in a hostile work environment, understand that laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act exist to protect your rights. No one should have to endure harassment anywhere, but especially somewhere you spend a lot of your time and depend on for your livelihood.
Generally, federal agency EEO offices are designed to provide assistance to employees when they are being harassed or discriminated against in the workplace. Federal agencies have formal policies for reporting harassment. That said, management might not satisfactorily handle your case and, under these circumstances, you should seek legal representation to handle your case.
At the same time, you should avoid complaining to your coworkers. Keep in mind that your colleagues do not have the power to change the situation and this will likely convolute your case if they are required to testify. You should watch out for any form of retaliation, since this can often happen to employees who file EEO complaints.
Reach Out to Our Team of Federal Employment Lawyers to Discuss Your Case Today!
If you are a federal employee and believe that your workplace has become hostile because you are being discriminated against and/or harassed, you have a right to file a complaint. To do that, contact your employing agency’s EEO office within 45 calendar days of the harassment to file an informal EEO complaint. You should consult with a qualified lawyer trained in fighting against harassment in the workplace who can evaluate your case.
And represent you in your EEO complaint to enforce your rights and protect your federal career.
If you are being harassed at work, it is crucial to retain skilled legal counsel as soon as possible. At The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC our top-rated and award-winning team of lawyers is backed by more than twenty-five years of experience and a history of successful results. You can trust that you will receive effective representaton when you choose to work with our team.
Call our law office today at (202) 350-3881 or fill out our online contact form to set up a consultation with one of our trusted attorneys.