What must be present to prove a hostile work environment?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2022 | Employment Law |

Harassment claims in the workplace will require proving that you had a hostile work environment. While that may seem an easy task, there are some rules about what creates a true hostile work environment.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains you must be able to prove all conditions exist to prove any type of workplace harassment claim.

Offensive conduct

You will need to show that there was offensive conduct occurring. This conduct would be something that a typical person would feel is rude, obscene, hostile or intimidating. The different things that could create such an environment may include insults, mockery, dirty jokes or pictures, threats and slurs. Generally, if something interferes with your ability to do your job because it is so offensive, then it will rise to the level needed to prove your claim.


For a hostile work environment to exist, the conduct needs to happen routinely and regularly. It cannot be just one or two instances. It cannot be something that is just annoying. You really must feel pressure to accept something that you do not feel comfortable with on a daily basis just to keep your job.

You should also understand that bringing an annoyance to your employer and having the issue immediately stopped would not satisfy the conditions because you did not have to continuously endure the issue and it did not become like a condition of your employment. The main point is that this behavior or these actions must be something continuously present that you cannot get away from when working in your workplace.