Employer strategies to address a hostile work environment

In Ohio and throughout the United States, there has been significant attention paid to workplace issues such as harassment and discrimination. However, that is often viewed from the perspective of the employee. Frequently, employers are perceived as guilty regardless of the circumstances. When allegations of workplace wrongdoing are made, employers should understand how to prevent and address assertions of illegal workplace behavior.

Facts about a hostile work environment

Preventative measures and forging a defense against accusations of a hostile work environment are key for employers. A hostile work environment occurs if anyone in the workplace behaves in a way that causes a negative impact on another person doing their job. For the behavior to meet the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requirements for a hostile work environment, it must be unwelcome or harassing based on the person’s age, disability, national origin, race, gender and more; it must be ongoing; and it must be of sufficient severity that the person cannot effectively perform the duties of the job.

For a defense in employer-side employment law litigation, it is crucial to remember that the burden of proof must be met for there to be a viable case against the employer. When the case is analyzed, certain questions will be asked. These include whether the behavior was unwelcome, if it happened multiple times, when it happened and if it was perpetrated against a protected class.

Experienced representation is key

Employers are advised to have a positive work environment with a welcoming atmosphere. Also, there should be an easily available outlet to lodge complaints or express concerns about how colleagues, managers and supervisors are behaving. When an employee pursues a legal filing, it is wise to have experienced representation.