Wherever you work in Hawaii, be it in an office, on a construction site or elsewhere, you can expect a safe and civil environment. Your employer is responsible for ensuring these things. Any conduct from a coworker, manager, client or other entity that is unwelcome, offensive or harassing may be grounds for filing a hostile work environment complaint in certain situations.
Not every comment or action constitutes hostility, even if it is unwelcome. For example, if someone at work tells a dirty joke in your presence, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a hostile work environment. If you ask them not to include you in such humor in the future, and they keep doing it, and it begins to affect your ability to peacefully carry out your workplace duties, then the behavior might be harassment.
Managers and supervisors must prohibit hostility in the workplace
If your manager or supervisor is aware that someone is discriminating against you or purposely creating a hostile work environment for you, he or she must take action to resolve the problem. If a manager or supervisor allows the behavior to continue, then he or she is subject to disciplinary action. You might be worried that your boss will retaliate against you if you file a complaint.
It’s understandable that you might feel worried or fearful when filing an employment law complaint. Try to remember that the law is on your side. You have a right to safety and civility in the workplace.
Where to file a complaint
You may decide that the best way to start is to file an internal complaint regarding a hostile work environment. You might also choose to file a complaint outside the company, at the state or federal level, such as with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission. You can do this in writing or by visiting the appropriate agency in person.
Hostility in the workplace can have adverse effects on your health
Facing hostility in a work environment causes stress and anxiety. Many people reach a point where they dread going to work each day. Not only can harassment cause emotional trauma, but your physical health might begin to suffer as well. It is possible for a hostile working environment to make you so ill that you become unable to carry out your duties or to go to work at all.
When you report a hostile work environment early on, you may be able to get a cease-and-desist order against the person or people who have been harassing you before there is too much damage done. Keep in mind that, when you are a complainant in an employment law harassment case, you must prove your allegations. Make sure you gather the right type of evidence and build a strong case before heading to court.