Negative actions don’t necessarily create hostile workplaces

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2020 | Employment Law -- Employer |

If you’re a business owner in Pennsylvania or any other state, it is important that you take steps to avoid creating a hostile working environment. However, actions such as periodically making rude statements toward an employee generally don’t create hostile working conditions. This is according to a ruling from the 6th Circuit.

Employers shouldn’t treat workers differently

Ideally, your organization will create workplace policies that apply to all workers equally. In the case of Hunter v. General Motors LLC, a female employee claimed that she was improperly blamed for mistakes that her male coworkers made. She also claimed that her supervisor considered women to be lazy, sloppy and uneducated. While the court ruled in favor of General Motors in the case, it shouldn’t be seen as a sign that companies can get away with certain levels of harassment.

Conduct can still be considered discriminatory

Hunter also alleged in her lawsuit that women were excluded from meetings and were not allowed to work from home. The court found that those actions were discriminatory even if they were not severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile working environment. You should consider creating anti-harassment programs so that managers and employees alike understand the types of actions to avoid at work. These types of programs may reduce the possibility of employees filing complaints or lawsuits against your company.

All complaints should be investigated

It is important that all complaints are investigated regardless of how you may view them. This can help to improve employee morale and ensure that you root out any issues that may exist before an individual chooses to file a lawsuit. Even if your business wins in court, doing so may require time and money that could be spent growing your company.

If your company is facing a harassment or discrimination lawsuit, it may be wise to speak with a professional who understands employment law. In some cases, it may be possible to resolve the matter without the need to go to court.