In Texas employers can be held accountable if dangerous employees create a hostile work environment for a fellow employee, and the actions or speech are tied to the employee's membership in a protected class. At Wiley Walsh, P.C., our Austin hostile work environment attorneys can review your situation and provide counsel and representation.Seeking Remedies for Harm Caused by Dangerous Employees
There are several anti-discrimination laws put in place to stop employees from being adversely treated in the workplace based on their inclusion or perceived inclusion in a protected class. For example, workers are protected against sexual harassment under Title VII as well as Texas Labor Code Chapter 21. Disabled workers are protected from harassment based on a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Texas Labor Code Chapter 21. Other protected classes include race, sex, national origin or ethnicity, religion, and age (older than 40).
Actions and words that are hostile, intimidating, or abusive create a hostile work environment. An isolated incident or petty slight will not be enough to generate a hostile work environment that is actionable. The actions or speech must be severe and intentional and must affect your ability to do your job. The court will look at all of the facts to determine whether what happened constitutes a hostile work environment.
For example, if your coworkers proposition you or send sexually explicit emails about you on a regular basis, this is likely to be seen as a hostile work environment by a court, and you may have a claim under Title VII and the Texas Labor Code. Similarly, if your coworkers pull off your hijab on a regular basis or tell you to go back to where you came from, a court is likely to find that a hostile work environment has been created under Title VII and the Texas Labor Code.
It can be difficult to complain about coworkers who are dangerous and creating a hostile work environment. You may question whether you are reading the situation correctly or whether something other than your inclusion in a protected class is the reason why you face harassment. Meeting with an experienced hostile work environment attorney can help you find answers and determine the best way to inform your employer that you are dealing with dangerous employees.
Once your employer knows about a hostile work environment, an employer is supposed to make a good-faith effort to respond to the situation and resolve any issues adequately, and it can be held liable for failing to do so. Your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for reporting that your coworkers have been harassing you based on your inclusion or perceived inclusion in a protected class. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for participating in an investigation or lawsuit filed by a coworker based on their membership in a protected class.
Finally, there may be other laws and agencies that can protect you from dangerous employees or prohibit retaliation for reporting dangerous employees. For example, OSHA investigates claims of workplace violence. The Texas Health and Safety Code and Occupations Code provide protection for certain employees in the healthcare industry. The Surface Transportation Assistance Act prohibits retaliation for refusing to work in some unsafe conditions.Retain an Austin Attorney to Protect Your Rights in the Workplace
If you are harassed by dangerous employees at your job, you may have a basis to sue your employer. However, holding an employer accountable for your coworkers' harassment can be challenging. You should make sure that the harassers know that their conduct is unwelcome, notify your employer, and document the incidents of harassment or dangerous behavior. You should also consult an experienced employment discrimination attorney. The Austin lawyers at Wiley Walsh, P.C. represent workers in Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Leander, Del Valle, Kyle, San Marcos, San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg, among other cities. Call us at (512) 271-5527 or use our online form to set up an appointment.