What Is A Hostile Work Environment?
My office in Chicago gets this question often-what is a hostile work environment in Illinois? There are two types of hostile work environments. First, there is what is called a quid pro quo which is Latin and means this for that. In essence, if the boss says have sex with me and I will let you keep your job. This type of hostile work environment happens in sexual harassment cases. The second type is a culmination of acts the violate one of the categories of discrimination. For example people at work keep looking at porn and you keep seeing it on the computer screens. Or you are the subject of sexual commenets at work. These activities would create a hostile work environment.
Right now in Illinois there is no general harassment law or bullying law. Which means that the hostile work environment can only be claimed if it is based on acts that violate the Illinois Human Rights Act or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Bascially, there has to be some category of discrimination that is violated--like sexual harassment or gender discrimination. If you are unsure of whether or not you have a legitimate case, you should contact my office to get an opinion. It is very important to do so early because there are strict time limits for filing claims and if you miss them, your case is lost.