A lot of people have worked for a boss who is overly demanding, unreasonable, and just downright mean. This situation can make work unbearable, which might lead you to think that you’re in a hostile work environment. However, while legal action may be justified if you are subjected to a hostile work environment, there is a distinction between a hostile work environment and a work environment that just bad.

Proving the Existence of a Hostile Work Environment

Having a boss who is a jerk isn’t enough to constitute a hostile work environment unless you can prove certain legal factors. To start, you’ll need to show that the behavior in question is aimed at you based on your sex, race, religion, ethnicity, age, or some other characteristic. If the behavior is aimed at everyone regardless of those identified characteristics, then it’s likely that your workplace is just bad, not hostile.

Factors to Consider When Assessing a Hostile Work Environment

If you believe the behavior that is targeted against you is discrimination, then you also need to consider its impact on you and your ability to work. Generally speaking, many cases look at the following factors:

  • Whether the behavior is threatening or menacing in nature
  • Whether the behavior is simply offensive
  • The egregiousness of the behavior, meaning its severity
  • How frequently the behavior in question occurs
  • How the behavior affects your ability to perform your job duties

Making Sure You Have a Claim

If you feel like your situation falls into the those described above, then you’ll want to do everything you can to build your case so that you maximize your chances of succeeding on a legal claim. This may mean showing that your employer was aware of the behavior but failed to correct it and attempting to take any remedial measures that your employer made available to you.

Discrimination cases can be quite valuable. They should be given that they can lead to fear, humiliation, and negative employment consequences. To increase your chances of succeeding on one of these claims, though, you need to know the law and be prepared with strong arguments to support your position. If you’d like to learn more about how to do so, then consider speaking with an attorney of your choosing.