Does Yelling Create A Hostile Work Environment In Illinois?
My Chicago offices gets many calls from people inquiring into whether they can file a discrimination complaint based on what they perceive as a hostile work environment. The facts are usually the same. The boss is always yelling and screaming at everyone including the person who contacted my office. The yelling may include profanity and humiliating words. Although this behavior should not take place in the workplace it does. The question is does this conduct rise to the level of discrimination in Illinois? The short answer is no. In the past year the Illinois legislature defeated a bill that would have created a general harassment or bullying law. Under that law this type of activity would have resulted in a discrimination complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”). But as I said that proposed law was defeated.
Now I said the short answer to the question was no but that can turn into a yes under certain circumstances. For example if the boss yells and screams at you and no other workers, perhaps you are being singled out because of your gender, race, national origin etc. Or if the boss only yells at females there could be a gender discrimination case. The point being there may be other facts that could turn general yelling and screaming into a valid discrimination case. Remember that in Illinois there is no general harassment law and therefore more directed type discrimination must take place before you can file a complaint with the IDHR.