A hostile work environment can be described as a setting that condones the inappropriate and uncomfortable behavior, policies and attitudes toward employees or coworkers. In Florida, a hostile work environment is considered a form of employee harassment, a charge with severe repercussions.  

In order to be considered a hostile work environment against which an employee can take action for harassment discrimination, the setting is subject to certain criteria. Follow along below to learn which criteria constitute a work environment as hostile.

What constitutes a hostile work environment in Florida?

To be considered a hostile work environment, continual pervasive behavior and policies must be in place that limits an employee from effectively doing their job.

Examples of behavior include the following:

  • Sufficiently intense hostile behavior. When behavior is continuous and hostile, it is sufficient to label an environment hostile.
    This type of behavior tends to elicit the following:

    • physical harm
    • physical discomfort
    • negative effect on work performance
    • disruption to work performance
    • racial epithets, curses, slurs, or distasteful language suggestive of racial specificity
  • Intimidating or offensive behavior. In Florida, a behavior is considered offensive in the following manners:
    • intimidation
    • ridicule
    • mockery
    • insults
    • offensive jokes
    • name calling
    • slurs
    • epithets
    • physical assaults
    • threats
    • offensive objects/pictures
    • interference with work performance.
  • Discriminatory hostile behavior. The derogatory behavior is specifically discriminatory toward a group that is protected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Targeted group qualities include sex, race, age, pregnancy, genetics, race, and disability.
  • Unwelcome hostile behavior. Work environments naturally bring together people of different upbringings, humor, emotional maturity, and perspective. Innocent behavior is often received (or rejected) as unwelcome or offensive by certain employees or coworkers. If this type of behavior persists after vocalizing the discomfort it causes, it is considered hostile.
  • Pervasive hostile behavior. While any instance of hostile, discriminatory behavior is troublesome, protection under the EEOC requires proof that the behavior is continuous, pervasive, and likely to continue without legal intervention.

Along with the conditions above, the EEOC looks for the following factors to determine the hostility of a work environment in Florida:

  • nature of conduct
  • context of conduct
  • severity and longevity of conductWhat Constitutes a Hostile Work Environment in Florida

Who is involved in a hostile work environment?

Hostile work settings in Florida are not limited to supervisor-employee relationships. The following people are commonly involved in a hostile work environment:

  • supervisor
  • supervisor in a different location
  • employer agent
  • coworker
  • non-employee
  • third-party affected by ongoing hostility between the parties above

Which conditions do not constitute a hostile work environment in Florida?

Some conditions in the work environment are common and repetitive but do not suffice in an argument for a hostile work setting, including:

  • annoyances
  • isolated, non-extreme incidents
  • petty slights
  • uncomfortable situations

Florida Hostile Work Environment Laws

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission operates on a federal level to ensure the following laws are in place and active, to protect employees from hostile work environments:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • The Equal Pay Act
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Are you a victim of a hostile work environment? If so, you have the right to take action against your employer. With over 30 years of experience handling and litigating employment cases through, in trial and appellate courts, the Law Offices of Eddy Marban can protect your legal rights and guide you through your case.

Reach out to our offices to learn more, or visit us online to request a free consultation.