Hostile environment attorney in Colorado helps employees and employers resolve hostile work environment claims. Hostile work environment is a legal term of art that has a specific meaning. Any claims for harassment or hostile behavior in the workplace falling outside of the specific meaning is generally not actionable as a hostile work environment claim. A hostile environment attorney in Colorado can help you assess your situation and determine whether there is a case against your employer.
Workplace harassment lawyers in Colorado
Hostile work environment claims arise under specific labor and employment law settings. If a Colorado employer’s harassment or hostile environment occurs for any reason not prohibited by law then a lawsuit is not available to seek relief against an employer. This is why you should talk to a Colorado hostile environment attorney about your situation to determine what remedies are available.
One common labor and employment law situation involving a hostile environment is unlawful employment discrimination. Federal and Colorado employment law prohibit employers from harassing employees on the basis of a protected trait or characteristic. These include traits and characteristics protected by federal laws such as:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Equal Pay Act
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Colorado employment law similarly prohibits discrimination on several protected traits and characteristics.
Federal and Colorado law also prohibits workplace harassment as retaliation for exercising a protected employment law or labor law right. Sometimes an employer retaliates by terminating or demoting an employee for exercising an employee right. An employer that retaliates by creating a hostile work environment also violates the law. Employees facing harassment as a form of retaliation for exercising a legal right can seek remedies. Examples of these rights include:
- Working with coworkers to improve workplace conditions
- Taking FMLA protected leave
- Requesting an accommodation to a disability
- Requesting an accommodation to a religious practice
Similarly, an employer may not create a hostile environment as a form of retaliation for participating in an investigation, reporting, or proceedings regarding an unlawful employment practice. These include retaliating for:
- Reporting employment discrimination to the EEOC
- Participating in an employer’s investigation of another employee’s report of discrimination
- Complaining about unpaid wages or overtime pay
- Testifying in a trial on another employee’s lawsuit
If you think your employer harassed you for one of these reasons then you should talk to a hostile environment attorney in Colorado right away.
Hostile environment in Colorado
A hostile work environment arises when harassing behavior meets a certain standard. This standard is complex and an employee must prove each element of a hostile work environment to prevail on his or her case.
The definition of workplace harassment includes:
- The perpetrator is in a position related to the victim’s employment;
- The victim is an employee of the employer alleged to have harassed or allowed the employee to be harassed;
- The victim endured offensive behavior at work;
- Offensive to a reasonable person; and
- Offensive to the victim;
- The employee was either:
- Required to endure the offensive conduct as a condition of continued employment; or
- Was severe or pervasive such that it created an environment that is abusive (a hostile work environment) or results in an adverse employment action; and
- The offensive conduct was motivated by an illegal reason.
Just as hostile work environment is a term with a specific legal meaning, each of these terms also has specific legal meaning. Decoding the legal standard for a hostile work environment is not easy. If you think you have been harassed at work you should talk to a hostile environment attorney in Colorado right away.