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Definition

Respect in the Workplace

A complaint about a hostile work environment is a prerequisite for proving illegal discrimination in the workplace under federal law. The complainant must prove that he or she was discriminated against based on race, sex, color, religion, sexual orientation, descent, national origin, pregnancy, age, or disability. Additionally, the acts must be generalized and sufficiently serious for being considered abusive.

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Hostile Work Environment

Usually, a discriminatory comment or behavior that has occurred once or twice is not sufficient to be considered a hostile work environment. If the stalker or harasser is a supervisor, the employer is responsible because the supervisor acts on behalf of the employer. If the parties are not supervisors, the victim must demonstrate that harassment had been reported and that the employer failed in taking enough measures to improve the situation.

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