Hostile Work Environment
Experienced Employment Lawyers Serving Miami Workers
Harassing conduct by coworkers, supervisors, or managers may become unbearable. To bring a hostile work environment claim in Florida, the harassment that you face needs to involve a protected trait specified by law. If you are considering bringing this type of claim, you should consult the Miami hostile work environment lawyers at Phillips & Associates.
Hostile Work Environment Discrimination
Harassment based on a protected characteristic may be an actionable form of discrimination prohibited under federal, state, and local laws. An actionable hostile work environment claim must involve a protected characteristic such race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, sexual harassment, pregnancy or nationality. Different laws protect different characteristics. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides protection for color, race, religion, sex, and national origin. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees from discrimination arising out of age if the employee’s age is 40 or over.
The Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) is the state anti-discrimination law, and it prohibits discrimination based on color, race, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, age, handicap (disability), or marital status. The Miami-Dade County Human Rights Ordinance prohibits discrimination arising out of color, race, ancestry, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, disability, age, marital status, familial status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, or income source. The hostile work environment attorneys at our Miami office can help you bring a claim under any of these laws.
Courts usually examine all the circumstances in deciding whether an employee has a hostile work environment claim. A single, trivial event will usually not be considered to have created a hostile work environment. Therefore, petty slights or irritations are not illegal harassment. Instead, the harassing conduct must be unwelcome, and so severe or so pervasive that it alters the terms and conditions of employment. Harassment also rises to the level of a hostile work environment if enduring the harassing behavior becomes a condition of continued employment. Harassing conduct could include slurs, offensive jokes, threats, insults, touching, name calling, and intimidation. It could be committed by your boss, or it could be perpetrated by managers, coworkers, customers, or clients.
Generally, the Florida Civil Rights Act is interpreted according to the same case law that interprets federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Under federal law, an employer can be held automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that triggers a negative employment action (such as termination or demotion). For example, if your supervisor’s harassment is severe, and you complain about it and get terminated, a Miami hostile work environment attorney should be able to help you establish liability. The employer would be able to avoid liability in that situation only if it can show that it tried to prevent and correct the hostile work environment harassment, but you unreasonably did not take advantage of the employer-provided corrective opportunities. You may also be able to establish liability if the employer knew or should have known about the hostile work environment harassment but did not take appropriate and prompt steps to stop or remedy the situation.
If you can establish a hostile work environment, there is a range of damages that you may be able to obtain. Damages can be compensatory, meaning that they compensate for the harm done and try to put the victim back in the position in which he or she would have been had there been no harassment. Damages can include out-of-pocket costs for the harassment, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, and more. Additionally, in situations involving especially reckless or malicious conduct, you may be able to obtain punitive damages. These are damages awarded, not to compensate you but, to punish and deter the wrongdoer and future potential wrongdoers.
Consult a Hostile Work Environment Lawyer in Miami
If you were affected by a hostile work environment at your workplace, you should consult a seasoned employment attorney. Call the experienced litigators at Phillips & Associates at (866) 229-9441 or complete our online form. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, so we do not get any fees unless we successfully secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf.
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