Your work is undoubtedly important to you. You may have had your career path mapped out for years and intended to do whatever you could to reach your desired employment goals. After landing a job at a desirable company, you may have felt confident that nothing would hold you back.
Unfortunately, months or maybe even years after working at your current place of employment, you felt a shift in the work environment. Rather than the once-welcoming atmosphere, you began to feel uncomfortable going to work, especially around certain co-workers or superiors. Those feelings may have come about due to harassing actions from others.
Are you facing unlawful harassment?
Being made to feel uncomfortable on the job can range in severity. If someone occasionally makes you the butt of a joke, you may not particularly appreciate it, but it may not constitute harassment. However, under federal law, if a superior requires you to put up with harassing behavior in order to keep your job or if you face harassment to the point that you feel the workplace is hostile or abusive, illegal actions may have occurred.
Of course, in addition to federal laws, many states choose to implement their own anti-harassment laws. Often, state laws have a broader scope, which could add protection to employees. For example, Florida law determined that making jokes about a person’s weight violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
What type of harassment are you facing?
Unfortunately, harassment can come in many forms. Some mistreatment your co-workers or employer may have subjected you to could include the following:
- Intimidating you
- Sexually harassing you
- Showing you offensive photos
- Making offensive jokes to you or about you
- Ridiculing you
- Assaulting you
This list does not show every form of harassing treatment you may have endured. Like many reasonable people, you may have turned the other cheek when others tried to belittle you or treated you unfairly. However, if your ordeal has reached a point where you no longer feel comfortable or safe going to work, you may wonder what you can do.
Filing complaints and taking action
First, you can check your company’s policies for addressing workplace harassment. If a procedure exists for filing a complaint, start with that. In the event that your complaint goes unaddressed, your employer does not take appropriate action or your harassers continue their behavior despite disciplinary action, it may be time to consider legal steps. Discussing your ordeal with an experienced employment law attorney could help you understand your options.