Bright Idea Newsletter – January 2012

Bright Idea Newsletter – January 2012

What is a Hostile Work Environment?

Question: Must discriminatory conduct be specifically directed at an employee for that employee to be considered a victim of hostile work environment harassment?

The short answer to this question is “not necessarily.” However, issues of hostile work environment are never that simple. If behavior between two co-workers is so offensive to a third individual, that could be seen as creating a hostile work environment for that third individual. The offense is in the eye of the person being offended. That’s why we all basically lose our right of free speech within the workplace. We cannot say anything we want while at work because it could be offensive to others.

Let’s start with the definition of “Hostile Work Environment Harassment.” This type of harassment occurs when sexual or other discriminatory conduct is so severe and pervasive that it interferes with an individual’s work performance; creates an intimidating, threatening, offensive or humiliating work environment; or perpetuates a situation that affects the employee’s psychological well-being. The courts have ruled that hostile environment sexual harassment can be created by supervisors, coworkers, or non-employees such as customers.

Given that definition, someone who is exposed to offensive, humiliating or intimidating behavior in the workplace, even if it is not directly aimed at that individual, could be a victim. That person might wonder when the offensive, humiliating or intimidating behavior might be turned on himself or herself. It is an employer’s responsibility to provide a work environment free of any type of behavior that could be offensive, humiliating or intimidating to any employee in the workplace.

Notices to Employers

The 2012 minimum wage in Florida is $7.67 per hour, effective January 1, 2012, with a minimum wage of at least $4.65 per hour for tipped employees, in addition to tips.

***You must display a new poster reflecting this change. Here is a link to the poster***

Filing deadline for Vets 100/100A Report (for federal contractors & subcontractors) was extended from Dec 31 to Jan 15 due to VA website issues.

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