Hostile Work Environment Lawyer for Discrimination, Retaliation, and Harassment Claims

Despite having an excellent performance record, you dread coming to work. You don’t understand why you are being treated unfairly. It feels like your management wants you to quit. Promptly obtaining legal advice from a hostile work environment lawyer is essential if you believe that this is the result of discrimination, retaliation or harassment. For example, this could include:

  1. a hostile environment created by your co-workers or management;
  2. inappropriate sexual comments, gestures, and touching;
  3. your being treated differently because of your sexual orientation;
  4. your new manager treating men or younger employees more favorably;
  5. negative comments and reactions because of the FMLA leave you took;
  6. a reluctance on the part of management to reasonably accommodate your disabilities;
  7. management’s failure to address your complaints; or
  8. retaliatory, adverse actions against you following your complaints to management.

An experienced hostile work environment lawyer can evaluate your circumstances and the events, as you understand them. Then, they can provide you with an opinion as to whether your legal claims against your employer are potentially worth pursuing. Of course, this would only be a preliminary opinion because relevant and critical information from the employer would not likely be available.

Nevertheless, an experienced hostile work environment lawyer can provide you with the advice necessary to optimize your ability to achieve your objectives, whether those are to (a) remain with your employer and stop the discrimination, retaliation, harassment, (b) leave your employment with a fair severance and without burning bridges, or (c) otherwise.

Voicing an Internal Complaint May Be Necessary

Many employers welcome employee complaints. In the absence of such complaints, they may not be aware of the problems or able to resolve them. That is why most employee handbooks not only encourage but also require employees to make management aware of their complaints. However, employees are often naturally reluctant to voice internal complaints or file formal internal complaints with HR for fear of retaliation.

The failure to voice or file a complaint, in some instances, can jeopardize potential legal claims. For example, if an employee is subjected to harassment from a coworker, whether sexual in nature or because of the employee’s sexual orientation or any other protected trait, and the harassment is not known by management, the employer likely would not be liable because the employee failed to complain and provide the employer with an opportunity to address and correct the problem.

Timely Filing A Complaint with the Government Typically Is Required to Preserve Legal Claims

In order to properly preserve the ability to pursue legal claims against employers, employees must, with respect to most discrimination, retaliation, and harassment claims, timely file charges of discrimination. These charges should involve the federal agency responsible for investigating and remedying discrimination, retaliation and harassment (the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “EEOC”) and the comparable state agency (in Texas, the Texas Workforce Commission “TWC”).

Any claimed event of discrimination, retaliation or harassment occurring more than 300 days prior to the filing of a charge with the EEOC is most often time-barred.  An even shorter time period applies with respect to claims submitted to the TWC. Any claimed event of discrimination, retaliation or harassment occurring more than 180 days prior to the filing of a charge with the TWC is most often time-barred.

Importance of Promptly Contacting a Hostile Work Environment Lawyer

A hostile work environment lawyer can provide critical information and assistance to employees who are experiencing discrimination, retaliation or harassment and have not yet resigned or been terminated. Among other things, advice to such employees could include:

  1. whether they have legitimate claims for discrimination, retaliation, or harassment;
  2. whether an internal complaint should be asserted and the language or terminology to be used;
  3. what employees should expect will happen should the Company initiate an investigation;
  4. how employees should respond and act in the course of an investigation;
  5. whether statements or affidavits from coworkers should be solicited;
  6. whether filing a charge of unlawful treatment with the EEOC or the state agency is advisable; and
  7. the best strategy to accomplish the goals of the affected employees. This can include whether to stay with the employer or to depart under favorable terms and with a favorable severance.

A hostile work environment lawyer can also provide advice and assistance to former, terminated employees who experienced discrimination, retaliation or harassment. Advice to such former employees should take into account the desire of most former employees not to burn bridges and could include, for example:

  1. whether they have legitimate claims for discrimination, retaliation, or harassment;
  2. whether statements or affidavits from former co-workers should be obtained;
  3. the best strategy to accomplish the goals of the affected former employees. Typically, this would be obtaining a favorable severance or, if a severance was offered, to obtain enhanced severance benefits; and
  4. review of and proposed revisions to any severance agreement presented by the employer which, invariably, includes a release of all claims and continuing obligations of confidentiality and non-disparagement.
  5. whether filing a charge of unlawful treatment with the EEOC or the state agency is advisable.

Key Takeaways

If your employer admittedly fired you because you had complained that the employer’s coffee was never hot enough, that would undoubtedly be retaliatory. However, that would not give rise to a cognizable legal claim for wrongful termination.

An experienced hostile work environment lawyer can, in connection with your termination, advise you whether you have potential, cognizable legal claims for discrimination, retaliation, harassment. They can also assist with other employment-related claims and help you avoid any pitfalls in accomplishing your goals.

Employees who have not been terminated and are experiencing what they believe to be discrimination, retaliation or harassment should be cognizant of the need to, among other things:

  1. promptly contact a Hostile Working Environment Lawyer;
  2. comply with any employer reporting or complaint procedures;
  3. respect and comply with the requests and requirements of any employer investigation;
  4. never, whether true or not, admit any inability or unwillingness to comply with future employer directives or to continue to work with the employer; and
  5. timely comply with the requirement to submit claims to the federal and/or state employment agencies.

The Dallas employment lawyers have extensive experience handling claims involving discrimination, retaliation, and harassment. To learn more about the hostile work environment lawyers at Rogge Dunn Group, visit their attorney biographies here:

To contact a hostile work environment lawyer at Rogge Dunn Group, click here.

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