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Hostile Work Environment FAQs

1. What Constitutes a Hostile Work Environment in Tennessee?

A hostile work environment occurs when an employee is subjected to severe or pervasive harassment, threats, or other conduct based on his or her race, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, national origin, religion, or genetic information, that results in a work environment that a reasonable person would consider hostile or abusive. To be abusive, the harassment must interfere with the employee’s ability to perform his or her job.

Curt Masker is a hostile work environment lawyer in Nashville who aggressively litigates employment law claims in federal court and before the EEOC. Contact The Masker Firm at 866-931-0146 or online for your Free Attorney Consultation.


2. What Isn’t a Hostile Work Environment?

Workplace conduct by management or coworkers that includes simple teasing, offhand comments, talking loudly, infrequent slurs or insults, or other rude and obnoxious behavior is never acceptable; however, this type of misconduct is generally legal and does not constitute a hostile work environment in the legal sense. To be unlawful, the harassment must be based on a legally protected class or characteristic.


3. What Are Examples of a Hostile Work Environment?

Hostile work environments differ from each other based on several factors and they may arise in many different circumstances. Examples of a hostile work environment may include:

  • Employee is exposed to racial slurs, demeaning jokes, physical threats, and disparate discipline for over 10 years.
  • Employee is regularly propositioned for sex by her supervisor and is told that she will never be promoted if she does not acquiesce to the unwelcome advances. At the next opportunity for advancement, she is denied a promotion.
  • Employee is called highly offensive slurs on a frequent basis for over two years and is ostracized and isolated after complaining to management.

4. Is My Workplace a Hostile Work Environment?

If you are frequently experiencing severe or pervasive harassment or threats at work, then you may be a victim of a hostile work environment. To discuss your potential claims, contact Nashville hostile work environment attorney Curt Masker for a Free Attorney Consultation.


5. What Should I Do If I am Experiencing a Hostile Work Environment?

If you are enduring a hostile work environment, you need to take immediate action by contacting an experienced employment law litigator to discuss filing a complaint with the EEOC.


6. I Was Fired After I Complained About Harassment at Work, What Should I Do?

If you were fired soon after reporting workplace harassment, contact Nashville-based employment litigator Curt Masker at 866-931-0146 or online for your Free Attorney Consultation. For many harassment claims in Tennessee you may have as little as 300 days to file a complaint with the EEOC. In most circumstances, we recommend employees avoid filing their own EEOC complaint (read why here).


7. What Is the Average Hostile Work Environment Case Worth in Tennessee?

The value of a hostile work environment lawsuit (settlement or jury verdict) varies significantly from case to case depending on several factors, including the total number of legal claims, how much money you have lost in wages and benefits, the quality of evidence showing severe or pervasive harassment, whether or not the harassment impacted your physical or mental health, and if the employer has a history of allowing harassment of employees in the past. To know how much your legal claims may be worth, contact Nashville-based employment lawyer Curt Masker for a Free Attorney Consultation.


8. What Laws Relate to Hostile Work Environment?

In Tennessee, employees are protected against a hostile work environment by several employment laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Tennessee Human Rights Act. Each of these laws prohibits hostile work environment. Only an experienced Nashville employment attorney can explain the legal nuances of all applicable federal and state laws in Tennessee for your particular circumstances.


9. Can You Sue Someone for Creating a Hostile Work Environment?

Yes. Employers are legally responsible for the actions of their managers and other employees under the doctrine of “respondeat superior.” Companies have a legal duty to protect employees from unlawful harassment and a hostile work environment. An employer is automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in the employee’s termination. If the company knew or should have known about the harassment by coworkers, then it may be legally liable. Certain individual employees and/or members of management may be sued for sexual assault or for participating in a racially hostile work environment.


10. How Do I Prove a Hostile Work Environment Claim?

To prove the legal requirements for a hostile work environment claim, an employee must show harassment that is (1) pervasive or severe; (2) disruptive to his or her job performance; and, in some cases, (3) that the employer knew about and failed to take prompt corrective measures to remedy. In general, employment lawyers prove hostile work environment claims by presenting evidence of unlawful workplace harassment via documents (internal complaints of harassment, personnel file, texts, emails, audio or video recordings, etc.) and sworn testimony of the witnesses who observed the harassment.


11. What is the Statute of Limitations for Hostile Work Environment Claims in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, you generally have 300 days from the date of the alleged discrimination to pursue federal discrimination claims. Depending on how much time has passed since the discrimination occurred, you may have very little time remaining before the deadline. If you miss this deadline, you will be barred from pursuing your claims in court.


12. How Do I Sue for Discrimination at Work?

The first step is to speak with an experienced employment lawyer who files discrimination claims in court and with the EEOC.

If you have suffered from severe or pervasive harassment at work, contact Nashville hostile work environment lawyer Curt Masker to understand your legal rights. Curt exclusively represents employees in litigation against employers in federal court and before the EEOC. Contact Curt today at the number above or online.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Curt worked diligently and maintained excellent communication with my case. He made sure to keep us updated about any and everything. I highly recommend the Masker Firm. Would give more stars if possible. Jeff
★★★★★
Curt really came through for me when a previous employer had reported my job title and hire dates incorrectly, he got it corrected within 12 hours of speaking to him about it! I would recommend him for any of your legal needs as he is quite efficient! Renee
★★★★★
Curt was very responsive from the beginning. He made it a very easy process, and he provided excellent guidance in the review of my severance agreement. Due, in part, to Curt's thoughtful suggestions in regards to changing some key language in the agreement that would protect both me and my former employer, they agreed to the changes. To protect yourself during job transition, a review of a severance agreement is a smart thing to do, and Curt will do an excellent job on your behalf. Thomas
★★★★★
Curt handled a case for me and did an unbelievable job in getting a resolution and a great settlement. I would highly recommend him to anyone. Teena