Atlanta Hostile Work Environment Attorneys
Strong advocacy for Georgia victims of discrimination and harassment
Some employees dread going to work because their boss, supervisor, coworkers, or others have made the workplace so toxic that they can’t do their jobs. Sometimes it’s just one person who is making your life difficult; sometimes it’s many different people. Sometimes it’s constant verbal harassment or bullying; sometimes, it’s postings on the Internet, drawings, expressions, and other conduct that have nothing to do with your ability to do your job.
When the abusive and harassing comments become unbearable, they can create a “hostile work environment.” When a hostile work environment is based on a legally protected characteristic such as your race or gender, you may have the right to file a civil rights complaint. At Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, our Atlanta employment law attorneys fight to protect employees who have been demeaned, harassed, or otherwise harmed by these systemic behaviors. Call us today to get started.
This was my first time having to seek legal counsel on an employment issue so I was a bit nervous about the process. I was referred to Ed Buckley by a friend I respect and trust, and one that has over 20 years of experience in law. Mr. Buckley made the process much less intimidating for me. Many thanks to Mr. Buckley and team for helping me. I'd definitely hire them again. – Google review
How can we help?
- What does a “hostile work environment” mean?
- Why is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involved in my employment complaint?
- What factors create a hostile work environment in Atlanta?
- What conduct is not a hostile work environment?
- How much is my hostile work environment claim worth in Georgia?
- Do you have a hostile work environment lawyer near me?
What does a “hostile work environment” mean?
The term “hostile work environment” refers to a form of discriminatory harassment. A hostile work environment occurs when employees do not feel safe, secure, and comfortable. Instead, they feel intimidated and scared. These are among the most challenging claims there are, which is why you want an experienced attorney on your side from the start.
Our Atlanta hostile work environment lawyers are skilled at showing you have the core requirements for filing a complaint. These requirements are:
- You must be a member of a protected group. Certain classifications are legally protected from workplace discrimination including race, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, and religion. You must show that you have suffered an adverse employment action (such as being fired, denied a promotion, or denied opportunities for advancement) because of your being included in one or more of these protected classes.
- You were harassed at work. According to the EEOC, harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates an anti-discrimination law. Harassment can be physical, verbal, or both, provided it relates to your protected group. Harassment is unwelcome conduct that becomes a part of your work environment or harsh enough that a reasonable person would consider that conduct to be hostile, intimidating, or abusive.
- The harassment is pervasive, which means it continues over time. A one-time offensive remark likely will not be considered pervasive, but the same comment repeated every day may be pervasive.
- The harassment is severe. Someone being rude or making an occasional off-color “joke” is likely not harassment. Severe harassment prevents you from completing your job tasks. The “reasonable person” test is used to show your harassment is severe.
- The harassment was intentional. You need to show that your employer knew the comments or behavior was harassing. This is fairly routine if your employer or a supervisor is harassing you. If a co-worker, customer, or client is harassing you, our Atlanta hostile work environment lawyers work to show your employer knew about the harassment and didn’t take steps to stop it.
Why is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involved in my hostile work environment complaint?
In order to file a complaint, you need to show that the workplace harassment created a hostile work environment and that you were discriminated against in violation of one or more anti-discrimination laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that investigates and enforces most of the federal discrimination laws. Some federal anti-discrimination laws include:
What factors create a hostile work environment in Atlanta?
Whether a workplace creates a hostile work environment is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Each protected class generally has its own set of conduct that creates a hostile work environment.
Two of the many types of workplace harassment are sexual harassment and racial harassment. Sexual harassment includes sexual comments, jokes, improper touching, sexual emails and texts, unwanted sexual advances, and unwanted sexual touching. Racial harassment includes threats, race-based jokes, comments about an employee’s physical traits, derogatory comments about an employee’s clothing or hairstyle, and other conduct.
Some of the signs of a hostile work environment include:
- Any conduct that causes physical harm or threats of physical harm
- Any language targeted to a specific protected group such as racial epithets and slurs or comments about the private parts of the anatomy
- Any behavior that affects an employee’s ability to do their job
- Offensive comments and jokes
- Ridiculing anyone at work
- Obstructing someone’s movements
- You have trouble sleeping or relaxing after work
- Someone at work sends nude images of you, a coworker, or anyone
- Making fun of the way you speak, dress, or move
Please know that the offensive comments and behavior do not have to be directed at you. You may have a hostile work environment claim if the comments are directed at someone else you work with.
What conduct is not a hostile work environment?
Conduct that on its own that may not be considered as contributing to a hostile work environment include:
- Complimenting someone on their appearance
- A one-time derogatory comment – because saying something offensive once is not considered pervasive
- Being rude or obnoxious but not to the point a reasonable person would be offended
- Demanding that deadlines be met
- Discussing an employee’s performance record with just that employee
- Using an occasional profanity
How much is my hostile work environment claim worth in Georgia?
Complaints based on federal discrimination laws are brought before the EEOC. If the EEOC cannot resolve the complaint, our Atlanta hostile work environment lawyers may file complaints in federal courts. The EEOC caps the amount an employee can recover based on the number of employees.
At Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, we can help you seek compensation for any applicable harms or losses you sustain, including:
- Any medical bills, such as for psychological care or medications to cope with mistreatment
- Emotional suffering, including mental anguish and the inability to enjoy life
- Lost wages and lost benefits
- Financial damages due to missed promotions, job opportunities, loss of seniority, and other financial losses
- The cost to find new work and lost wages/benefits for the delay in finding new work
- Court orders to stop workplace harassment and institute company policies to prevent future discrimination or harassment
- Job reinstatement
Our Atlanta hostile work environment attorneys explain what evidence you need to support your claim, how to obtain that evidence while you’re working, and how we can obtain the evidence you need in the formal discovery process.
Do you have a hostile work environment attorney near me?
Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP is based in Atlanta. We meet employees at our law office, which is located at 600 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 3900. We also conduct phone and video consultations by appointment, and proudly serve clients throughout Georgia, including in Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, and Savannah.
Our Atlanta employment lawyers are respected by former clients, employers, and the legal community for our ability to handle tough employment cases including cases where it’s necessary to show how awful your employer treated you.
Talk with our Atlanta hostile work environment attorneys now
Don’t suffer on your own. There are laws that protect employees when going to work becomes unbearable. The first critical step is to put your employer on notice that you are being mistreated. At Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, our Atlanta hostile workplace lawyers have the experience and understanding of employee rights to obtain the evidence you need and to litigate your complaint before the appropriate agencies and courts. Schedule a consultation with our employment law attorneys today by calling us or contacting us today.