Verbal harassment in the workplace is a serious problem for many employees. Verbal harassment can come from many directions including co-workers and employers. Another term for verbal harassment is microaggressions. Microaggressions refers to small comments that seem to be minor, but create a negative environment for all employees, not just the employee being targeted with the harassment.
Teasing is not the same as harassment. Harassment must be sustained as a pattern as opposed to a passing comment.
Every person has a right to a safe workplace environment. Discrimination based on personal characteristics in the workplace is illegal under the Civil Rights Act. Employers cannot discriminate or alienate employees for any personal characteristics such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion. Often teasing in the workplace starts around these kinds of topics. They may also start in regards to sexual topics or sexual harassment. In all cases, this kind of verbal harassment is illegal, and an employee can take legal and administrative measures to combat this kind of treatment.
Can an Employee File a Claim For Verbal Harassment?
Verbal harassment is difficult to prove because tone is often hard to prove. Even though verbal harassment can be defined as insulting language, it can be difficult to define what is abusive language and what is less serious. Verbal harassment can be added to another claim because verbal harassment can be used to prove a pattern when another, more serious charge has occurred.
Is there a Legal Remedy for Verbal Harassment at Work?
Another difficult aspect to recovering damages for verbal harassment as work is that most employment is at-will. Employees may feel they are being harassed, while employers can claim they were only critiquing the employee’s performance.
If the employee or former employee can prove they were the victim of a hostile work environment, they will have an easier time collecting remedies for verbal harassment. Remedies include compensation for emotional pain and suffering,
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Yes. If you are someone who has been verbally harassed at work, or the victim of a hostile work environment, you will want to get legal advice from an employment lawyer right away. You will also want to speak to a lawyer if you are an individual or an employer accused of being harassed by an employee or other individual. A lawyer will help you make your best case and represent you during the entire legal process.