How does employment law define workplace hostility

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | employment law |

You might have a coworker that you don’t get along well with at all. Perhaps you noticed a personality clash the first time you met. You hate working with this person, and you often have a headache afterward. While this type of situation is far from desirable, it does not necessarily constitute workplace hostility. If you plan to file a complaint regarding a hostile work environment in North Carolina, you must be prepared to substantiate your claim with evidence that meets the legal definition of hostility in the workplace.

There’s a difference between not getting along with a coworker and dealing with harassment on the job. You might not like every person you work with, and some people might not like you either; that’s just the way it goes. However, you do your best to overcome tension and carry out your duties. If someone is threatening, bullying or harassing you, these issues are grounds for a workplace hostility claim.

These elements help prove workplace hostility

The following list shows numerous issues that constitute workplace hostility and create grounds for filing a complaint:

  • Unsolicited and unwelcome behavior
  • Recurring incidents
  • Threatening or humiliating actions
  • Interferes with your ability to do your job
  • Causes physical injury or emotional trauma
  • Quid pro quo issues

The last issue on the list refers to situations where someone (often an executive) has promised you something in exchange for sexual favors or has threatened termination of your position or a demotion, etc., if you do not comply with a request. Workplace hostility can take a toll on your productivity at work, as well as your mental and emotional health.

Employees often hesitate to report hostile behavior

Many people are afraid to blow the whistle on workplace hostility because they fear retaliation. However, if adverse treatment occurs in connection with reporting bullying or harassment in the workplace, this too is unlawful behavior that is punishable under North Carolina employment laws. You have a right to safety in the workplace, and there are laws to protect your rights.

Evidence that can help you prove hostility in the workplace includes things like text messages, emails, or recordings of racial slurs, offensive language or threats. Don’t worry — it’s legal in North Carolina to record a conversation without getting the other person’s permission. The more evidence you have, the greater chance you have of resolving a workplace hostility problem.