Charleston Hostile Work Environment Lawyer

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Sometime in your career, you may have heard the phrase ‘hostile work environment’ and probably understand that you don’t have to tolerate one. However, do you know what constitutes a South Carolina hostile work environment?

The Charleston employment lawyers at the Hopkin’s Law Firm want you to understand what a hostile work environment is and what you can do if you are the victim of one. You have rights and there are laws you can use to fight back.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT?

In general terms, a hostile work environment is when harassment occurs and affects your ability to perform your job. This would include any kind of discriminatory conduct or speech at your place of employment.

It’s important to note that if your claim involves sexual harassment, you may have a claim even if you are homosexual or bisexual.

In fact, the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission has said that sexual harassment is not based on you and your harasser being different genders.

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 WHAT IS THE LAW IN SOUTH CAROLINA REGARDING A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT?

In South Carolina, the law is clear. Any harassment that is so frequent and/or severe that it creates an offensive or hostile work environment is prohibited. In addition, the harassment must be long-lasting and pervasive and must be based on the victim’s religion, color, age, sex, race, or national origin.

Your South Carolina employer must comply with federal laws that prohibit many forms of employment harassment. There are also state laws regarding hostile work environment. A South Carolina court may find that a hostile work environment was present in your workplace that a reasonable person could not have endured.

Additionally, there are state laws in effect to help you. If your employer doesn’t follow anti-harassment laws, it can result in your South Carolina employer being forced to go along with an investigation against them and you employer could be facing liability in a civil lawsuit.

WHAT KIND OF LIABILITY DOES MY SOUTH CAROLINA EMPLOYER HAVE?

If the harassment was from one of your supervisors, and an investigation shows that you’re working in a hostile work environment, the only way your employer can escape liability is by showing that they tried to correct the behavior, but the employee didn’t take advantage of the action.

If it was someone other than your supervisor that caused the harassment, your employer will be legally liable if they knew or should have known about the harassment but didn’t take any corrective action.

You have the right to a comfortable work environment. Your employer is legally obligated to act in order to prevent harassment or stop your harassment from continuing. If you have requested assistance and your employer doesn’t respond or act, you may be in a hostile work environment.

WHAT IS QUID PRO QUO HARASSMENT IN SOUTH CAROLINA?

This kind of harassment normally involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other physical and/or verbal behavior when that behavior is a condition for your employment decisions that affect you.

Quid pro quo is not the only type of workplace harassment, just one of the most common ones. Any sexual advances, physical threats, or other behaviors without any threat of retaliation is also considered to be harassment.

WHAT IF MY EMPLOYER THREATENS RETALIATION IN SOUTH CAROLINA?

If you are the victim of harassment, you may decide to stand up to the person harassing you. You could demand the behavior stop and you refuse quid pro quo harassment.

South Carolina law protects you from any retaliation and by your employer being against workplace harassment. This means that you cannot be fired, demoted, or given duties that are not part of your job, have your pay docked, or suffer any other negative effects on your employment because you stood up against the harasser.

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WHAT CAN I DO IF I’M BEING SEXUALLY HARASSED AT WORK IN SOUTH CAROLINA?

If you believe you are being sexually harassed at your place of employment in South Carolina, you should:

  1. Talk to one of our hostile work environment lawyers at Hopkin’s Law Firm to find out if the type of harassment you are suffering qualifies as sexual harassment.
  1. Check to see if your employer has a sexual harassment policy in place and if they do, you should follow it.
  1. If you have to complain, you should put your complaint in writing and keep a copy. Be specific about what happened with times, dates, and witnesses if possible
  1. If the person harassing you is your direct manager or supervisor, see if your employer has guidance on what to do next. If your employee handbook isn’t clear, take your complaint to Human Resources.
  1. Think about filing charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for sexual harassment. This is a federal agency that has the duty to investigate any allegations of sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will investigate your claim and issue a Notice of Right to Sue, which gives you the right to take your claim to court.

Keep in mind, you must file any charges within 300 days of the incident to protect your rights.

Most South Carolinians spend over one-third of their lives at work and every employee has the right to a safe, comfortable, and respectful workplace environment. If you or a loved one is a victim of South Carolina hostile work environment it is important to remember that you have been a victim of a hostile work environment and South Carolina law is on your side.

The Charleston, South Carolina hostile workplace lawyers at the Hopkins Law Firm are here to help you receive significant compensation as a result of being the victim of a hostile work environment against but give you the security of knowing that your feelings and concerns are valid.

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Contact Hopkins Law Firm, LLC, at 843-894-2377. If you would like more information about your specific case, you can meet with an attorney from our Charleston team. We will listen to your story, let you know what we can do, and how we can help. You may also email us with a detailed description of your case and we will reach back out to you. We are your local attorneys and we are here to help.

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