Hostile Work Environment Attorney in Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville Hostile Work Environment Attorney

Under Florida employment law and federal law, conduct that interferes with another employee’s ability to do their job creates an illegal hostile work environment. This includes humiliating or offensive remarks, targeted abusive behavior, threats, and inappropriate physical contact.

Typically, it takes a series of acts to create a hostile work environment. A single egregious incident may be enough to establish discrimination or harassment. An employee who is the target of hostile acts or workplace discrimination may pursue a legal claim demanding compensation for their lost wages and emotional distress.

Has the behavior at your workplace gone too far? You may have the basis for a legal claim. A hostile work environment attorney serving Jacksonville at Cruz Law Firm, P.A., can review your hostile workplace circumstances and help you understand the legal steps available if you have been subjected to a hostile work environment.

We Stand Up for Employee Rights in Jacksonville

The hostile work environment lawyers of Cruz Law Firm, P.A., are committed to protecting the rights of hardworking people in Jacksonville, Florida. Our employment law attorneys have nearly two decades of combined legal experience in the state and federal court systems and have obtained justice for our clients by taking more than 100 employment discrimination cases to trial.

We understand how difficult it can be to stand up to your employer in the face of discrimination. Experienced legal representation can help. Our attorneys are not intimidated, no matter how complex the case. We will stand with you to provide you with dedicated and effective legal representation and personalized service.

Get started on the path to justice and relief by scheduling a free and confidential legal consultation with an experienced hostile work environment attorney in Jacksonville. Contact Cruz Law today.

Call or text (850) 701-8838 or submit our Consultation Request form today

Defining a Hostile Work Environment

The basis for a claim that a work environment has become hostile lies in civil rights laws and federal court cases interpreting the law.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and additional state and federal laws make it illegal to discriminate in employment and other matters on the basis of a person’s:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marriage or civil partnership (in employment only)
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Genetic information.

In a claim, it is important for the work environment to be both subjectively and objectively hostile. In Gowski v. Peake, 682 F.3d 1299, 1311 (11th Cir. 2012), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit said a hostile work environment exists where “the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult, that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of … employment and create an abusive working environment.”

In Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., 594 F.3d 798, 807 (11th Cir. 2010), the Eleventh Circuit said discrimination can take the form of a “hostile work environment that changes the terms and conditions of employment, even though the employee is not discharged, demoted, or reassigned.” The Court said acts of hostility must be directed at a protected group or an employee in a protected class to constitute a hostile work environment.

Legal Standards and Proving Your Case

To pursue a hostile work environment claim, you’ll need to be able to show that you were subjected to harassment that was:

  • Severe or pervasive
  • Intentionally directed at a legally protected employee or covered employees
  • About a protected characteristic, and
  • Detrimental to your ability to perform your job

You must show that your employer failed to intervene and end the harassment.

In Reeves, the court said that “general vulgarity or references to sex that are indiscriminate in nature will not, standing alone, generally be actionable,” the Court said. “Title VII is not a general civility code.”

Jacksonville Hostile Work Environment Attorney Near Me (850) 701-8838

Steps to Take if You Are Experiencing a Hostile Work Environment

Your first step toward stopping behavior that creates a hostile work environment at your workplace is to complain about it and ask for it to stop or be stopped.

Ideally, you should first confront the perpetrators. If this is not feasible or useful, report the problem to your supervisor or to the human resources director/department. Record what has happened in writing, including times, dates, and names, but make your complaint in person, too.

Your company should have a policy stating that this type of behavior is not acceptable. Familiarize yourself with it before making your complaint so you know what should happen. (Even without such a policy, you have the right to a workplace free of harassment.)

Meanwhile, gather evidence of the harassment, including printed copies of offensive materials directed at you, such as emails, texts, social media posts, or any available photos or videos of the harassment. Put together copies of your performance reviews, customer feedback, awards, and citations to help demonstrate that you were in good standing with the company prior to complaining about harassment.

If HR or your superiors fail to take sufficient action to protect your right to a safe and productive work environment, then consider seeking legal representation.

Filing a Hostile Work Environment Claim

Filing a Hostile Work Environment ClaimThe employment lawyers at Cruz Law Firm can help you file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will investigate your claim with the objective of mediating a resolution that ends the hostile atmosphere at your workplace and potentially compensates you for what has happened to you.

If mediation doesn’t resolve the issue to your satisfaction, and the EEOC finds cause, it will issue a Notice of Right to Sue.

For a lawsuit to be successful, you would need to be able to demonstrate that:

  • You have been subjected to discriminatory acts based on a protected characteristic such as race, color, sex, national origin, or disability
  • The discrimination, such as for example disability discrimination or gender discrimination, was directed at you and has been offensive and severe
  • The discrimination was not an isolated incident, a lack of respect, or simply annoying behavior.
  • The harassment kept you from doing your job properly or kept you from receiving assignments, promotions, or other career advancements.
  • Your employer did not intervene and end the harassment.

Our labor law attorneys may demand damages for your:

  • Lost wages, including missed bonuses, raises, and promotions
  • Job search costs
  • Medical expenses, such as counseling and medication
  • Mental anguish
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

Eligible employees may also demand to be reinstated in their jobs with full pay and seniority.

The Cruz Law Firm can help you file a claim with the EEOC and follow up with a lawsuit on your behalf to pursue justice for adverse employment actions. We can help you organize evidence and witnesses to support your workplace rights claim and help press your case for compensation in settlement negotiations with the EEOC and your employer.

If and when necessary, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf and press your case for damages in court and/or through negotiations with your employer.

Contact Our Jacksonville Hostile Work Environment Lawyers

If you have been harassed at work to the point that it has damaged your job performance, a hostile work environment lawyer in Jacksonville with Cruz Law Firm can help you hold your employer accountable. We can help you file an EEOC claim and a lawsuit if federal authorities cannot arrange a reasonable settlement.

Call Cruz Law Firm at (850) 755-9856 today for a free and confidential consultation about your legal rights and how our law office can provide the legal assistance you need during this difficult time.