The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII defines a hostile work environment to include situations where a person is harassed or discriminated against based on their sex, race, religion, national origin, age or disability. The law is not meant to protect against mere teasing or isolated situations that are not serious, but rather pervasive and severe conduct that deviates from the terms and conditions of a person’s employment making it difficult for an individual in a protected class to perform their job.
If you feel that you are subject to a hostile work environment, it is important to make your concerns known to the appropriate people in your company. Start by alerting your manager or supervisor immediately and make an appointment with the Human Resources Department to report your experience. Document all of the meetings with dates, times, places and other details in the event your concerns are not addressed.
It is also important to take note of witnesses that may have observed incidences of harassment or discrimination. A third party account can strengthen your case so document their names, contact details and exactly what was observed. A third party may be willing to issue a written statement on your behalf if you need to explore a legal remedy.
Many employees worry that complaining may result in retaliation from the employer, but remember, it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate or take punitive actions against an employee who raises concerns about discrimination or harassment in the workplace. You have a legal right to complain when you feel that you are being discriminated against or harassed at work regardless of whether your claim is found to have no merit or validity.
Contact an Iowa Workplace Harassment or Discrimination Lawyer
If your employer is unresponsive to your concerns or you have been a victim of retaliation, you should seek legal advice. Look for an experienced employment law attorney who specializes in employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination. The Davenport, Iowa employment lawyers of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC can assist you if you are experiencing workplace harassment or discrimination on the bases of sex, race, religion, gender, national origin, age or disability. Call 563-355-6478 or email our office regarding your concerns.