If you work in a hostile work environment in Minneapolis or Minnesota, you might not notice until you become the victim. If you’re like most conscientious workers, productivity drives your actions while you’re on the job. You’re there to work, so you don’t usually pay attention to activities going on around you. When you’re on the receiving end of a campaign of harassment in a hostile workplace, you can’t ignore it. Even though laws prohibit workplace harassment, the intentional harm doesn’t usually stop until you leave your job or take legal action or both.
If a hostile work environment is threatening your livelihood, safety, and peace of mind, contact Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law. Our hostile work environment lawyers have represented numerous Minnesota workers dealing with physical, psychological, and emotional trauma. Our hostile work environment lawyers in MN have a successful track record with employment and discrimination cases. We put our firm’s knowledge, investigative skills, and resources to work for you in presenting and proving your case.
What Is a Hostile Workplace?
A hostile workplace environment is created when employers or coworkers become comfortable with committing malicious acts. They choose targets and subject these individuals to frequent abuse. When you’re the chosen victim, going to work every day presents unanticipated challenges.
Hostility in a work environment is more than your boss pushing you to work overtime or passing you over for a promotion. It’s a heightened and persistent form of bullying that makes your work environment unbearable. It’s what happens when your supervisor or coworkers establish a continuous pattern of intentional harassment. Some of the most common behaviors include:
- Derogatory comments
- Crude and offensive speech
- Unwanted touching or physical abuse
- Sexually suggestive language or gestures
- Comments that show racial, sexual, or disability insensitivity
- Demeaning comments and gestures
- Interference with a person’s ability to work
If you’re a frequent victim of these types of incidents, you often lose sight of what’s reasonable or customary workplace behavior. When you consult with Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law, our hostile work environment lawyers learn more about your workplace experiences. We help you determine if the actions are a result of a hostile workplace.
Understanding State and Federal Laws
The above behaviors are illegal under both Minnesota and United States anti-discrimination laws. When you file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), investigators handle it as a harassment case under the following laws and amendments:
- Minnesota Human Rights Act
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
The state and federal discrimination laws ensure legal rights for people in the following protected classes:
- Age: 40 and Over
- Race, Color, National Origin
- Sex, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity
- Genetic Information
- A person who files a discrimination charge
- A person who assists a discrimination investigation or prosecution
- A person who opposes discriminatory employment practices
Minnesota civil rights statutes include two additional protected classes not found in federal laws:
- Receives public assistance
- Participates in local Human Rights Commission Activity
If your evidence proves that your employer committed an illegal act against you, the EEOC and the MDHR take action on your behalf. They force your employer to stop their illegal activities and may issue monetary fines or penalties. As a victim, you may qualify for compensation.
If your employer refuses to settle your case, you have the right to pursue legal action by filing a lawsuit in compliance with EEOC and MDHR guidelines. Our hostile work environment lawyers also attempt to settle hostile workplace cases through Alternate Dispute Resolution and other non-court processes.
Who Is Responsible for a Hostile Work Environment?
In a hostile workplace, a victim’s immediate supervisor often commits illegal acts against one or more employees. Sometimes coworkers, subcontractors, visitors, or clients participate in systematic harassment. For several reasons, the employer is usually responsible in most situations.
- Employers operate and control activities in the workplace. If not, they should.
- While performing their jobs, employees are often considered the employer’s agents, acting on their behalf.
- Employers have a duty to set clear anti-discrimination rules and require employee compliance.
- They should have a system for dealing with employees who don’t comply.
- If an employer doesn’t know that employees are engaging in abusive behavior, they should know.
- They’re responsible when they fail to monitor and/or properly supervise their workforce.
Employers sometimes avoid responsibility for proven harassment if their evidence confirms:
- They made reasonable attempts to stop the harassment.
- The employer took corrective or preventive actions, but the employee wouldn’t comply.
Should You File a Civil Rights Complaint?
You must file a state or federal complaint immediately after you recognize a pattern of harassment and abuse. You should never simply wait for the bad behavior to stop. While you’re waiting for things to get better, you’ll likely endure additional trauma and abuse or you might lose your right to file a complaint.
- As an employee, you have no control over the outcome and timing of an in-house complaint process.
- After each incident occurs, you have up to one year to file a complaint with the EEOC or MDHR. Any postponement increases your risk of missing your deadline.
- If you don’t meet state and federal discrimination complaint filing deadlines, you lose your right to take action against your employer.
You must be cautious of any internal process where you must share all of your information with your employer. When your employer has an opportunity to evaluate your evidence, they have a better chance of defending themselves against future legal action.
Contact Mottaz & Sisk Hostile Work Environment Lawyers Today
If you’re struggling to cope with harassment or other discrimination on the job, you need immediate assistance from a seasoned hostile work environment Minneapolis lawyer. At Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law, we take immediate steps to protect your legal rights. Our hostile work environment lawyers have a strong working knowledge of both Minnesota and United States employment law, and we know what evidence we need to present the strongest possible case. As your legal advocates, we will manage your state and federal complaint processes, and file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation. We will review your legal options, and provide guidance to help you make decisions about future legal action.