Hostile Work Environment

An employee with a hostile work environment claim must establish that:

  • he or she belongs to a protected class,
  • she or he was subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment,
  • the harassment was based on sex,
  • the harassment affected a term, condition, or privilege of employment, and
  • the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take remedial action.

Conduct sufficient to create a hostile working environment must be severe or pervasive. A sexually objectionable environment must be both subjectively and objectively offensive. Whether an environment is hostile or abusive depends on a totality of circumstances, focusing on factors such as the frequency of the conduct, the severity of the conduct, the degree to which the conduct is physically threatening or humiliating, and the degree to which the conduct unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance.

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