What is A Hostile Work Environment?
A hostile work environment is created when an employee experiences or witnesses behavior that is considered to be offensive, intimidating, or hostile. This type of behavior can include things like:
- Sexual harassment: This is any unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
- Discrimination: This is any unfair treatment based on a person's race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.
- Bullying: This is any repeated, unwanted, and harmful behavior that makes a person feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
- Intimidation: This is any behavior that is intended to make a person feel afraid or threatened.
How Can You Prevent A Hostile Work Environment From Forming?
As an employer, you can take a number of steps to prevent a hostile work environment. These steps include:
- Create a clear and concise anti-discrimination policy: Your policy should clearly state that discrimination, harassment, and bullying will not be tolerated. It should also explain the steps that employees can take if they experience or witness discrimination or harassment.
- Train your employees on anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies: Make sure that all employees know the company's anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and how to report violations.
- Supervise your employees closely: Make sure that your supervisors are aware of the company's anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and that they are taking steps to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring in the workplace.
- Take prompt action when complaints are made: If an employee complains about discrimination or harassment, take prompt action to investigate the complaint and take steps to address the issue.
- Create a positive and supportive work environment: Encourage employees to communicate with each other and with management, and provide them with the support they need to do their jobs.
- Be consistent in your enforcement of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies: Make sure that all employees are treated equally, regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.
By taking these steps, you can help to create a workplace where all employees feel safe and respected.
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Francine E. Love is the Founder & Managing Attorney at LOVE LAW FIRM PLLC which dedicates its practice to serving entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses. The opinions expressed are those of the author. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.