Employment laws regarding workplace harassment

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | employment law |

When you report to a North Carolina workplace for duty, you can expect a safe working environment. Your employer has an obligation to make sure every employee has received proper training for their respective positions. Your employer must also provide literature or instruction regarding important employment law issues like workplace harassment or hostility and discrimination in the workplace.

Many workers hesitate to speak up when someone is harassing them at work. Some think it might make matters worse. Others worry about retaliation, such as their employer demoting them, passing them over for a raise or terminating them from their positions.

North Carolina employment laws protect workers from retaliation

If you have faced harassment in a North Carolina workplace, you can try to resolve the issue through various means. A logical first step to take is to meet with your employer to discuss the issue. It is a good idea to provide written details regarding the harassment that has taken place. You may also file a formal complaint. In some cases, there may be grounds for a lawsuit in civil court.

Article 21 in Chapter 95 is a state statute that prohibits retaliatory action against an employeewho has exercised his or her right to report harassment, even if an executive officer of the company is the individual who allegedly harassed the worker. The Commissioner of Labor receives and investigates complaints regarding retaliation against workers who have reported or threatened to report harassment in the workplace.

What types of behavior constitute workplace harassment?

Not every type of negative behavior in the workplace constitutes harassment. For example, there may be a coworker with whom you do not get along and do not like working with on projects. If that person makes an unkind remark or refuses to cooperate on a project, it doesn’t necessarily qualify as workplace harassment. However, any unsolicited and unwelcome behavior based on your race, religion, political affiliation or other identifying characteristics that impede your ability to do your job or feel safe in the workplace constitutes harassment.

Some types of harassment involve a legal term known as “quid pro quo.” This means someone tells you that you must do certain things to receive benefits at work, such as engage in sexual activity to get a pay raise. If you file a complaint or testify in a workplace harassment lawsuit, you have protection against retaliatory actions.

Resolving workplace harassment problems

If you are unsure whether a specific set of circumstances meets the legal definition of workplace harassment, it is wise to seek counsel from someone who is well-versed in North Carolina employment laws who can help you determine the answer and recommend a course of action to resolve the problem.