Is a hostile work environment against the law?
Oregon has laws specifically making a “hostile work environment” against the state law, although certain forms of behavior such as employment-discrimination and sexual harassment, can relate directly to federal laws. A “hostile work environment” can be the employee’s immediate boss, a fellow employee, or even a vendor. If their actions create an intimidating and abusive work environment, this is illegal, in the state of Oregon.
“Hostile work environment ” lawsuits frequently allege varying forms of harassment such as age discrimination, sexual or gender issues, retaliation, religion, or race. Essentially, these areas are covered if someone purposely harasses or intimates a fellow employee, which is protected under the federal law. If any of these forms of harassment are significant, and recurring, which makes it almost impossible to efficiently do one’s job, this constitutes a hostile work environment. These areas are also covered under the federal laws, including, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Disabilities Act (ADA). Oregon’s state discrimination laws provide for employee protections across the state. These state and federal laws specify the protected areas of abusive behavior and prohibit harassment, retaliation, and consequently the hostile work environment behaviors.
Generally, if an employee files a grievance to HR, or their manager, stating that he or she is experiencing a negative work environment, their employer, must conduct a comprehensive investigation. If it is apparent that there is a hostile work environment, the employer is required to immediately stop the work environment from being hostile. Occasionally, if the employer fails to deal with the problem, then the employee can file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will then conduct a specific investigation into the charge of a hostile work environment, and could even file a lawsuit on the employee’s behalf.
If your company needs sexual harassment or harassment training in Oregon, click here to see Employee Harassment Training’s Oregon trainers.
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