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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.

Our hostile work environment lawyers in Nashville aggressively litigate employment law claims in court and before the EEOC. Contact our firm at the number above or online for a free online case review.

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 based on a protected class, then you may be a victim of a hostile work environment. To discuss your potential claims, complete our online intake questionnaire for a free online case review.

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 one of our skilled Nashville-based employment litigators at the number above or online.

Keep in mind that for most harassment claims in Tennessee you may have 300 days or less 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 a Nashville-based employment lawyer right away.

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 complete our online intake questionnaire and one of our experienced Nashville employment lawyers will review it.

If you have suffered from severe or pervasive harassment at work, contact our experienced Nashville hostile work environment lawyers to fight back. We exclusively represent employees in workplace disputes against employers.

Contact us 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 Rickard Masker, PLC. Would give more stars if possible. Jeffrey
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