Hostile environment harassment comes in all shapes and sizes, but when it occurs in the workplace it is especially problematic because your livelihood can be negatively impacted. Knowing how to handle workplace harassment and where to turn can be confusing and upsetting. Federal laws in most states offer protections against discrimination but deciding when and if to take action can be overwhelming.

Red Banyan’s crisis communications professionals have the expertise, background and media savvy to guide you through these choppy waters and make sure you emerge safely on the other side. Knowing when you need outside help is half the battle. The PR experts at Red Banyan will steer you in the right direction and make sure you get the result you are seeking. 

Our team of hostile environment harassment specialists know that an employer can be liable for fostering or creating a hostile work environment that is fomented by work supervisors or other employees. If your complaints have fallen on deaf ears or been ignored, then our workplace media relations experts can shine a light on these shortcomings and move them in to the spotlight.

Correcting workplace hostility and discrimination may hinge on a lack of established policy. If so, the communication strategists at Red Banyan can help highlight these issues and bring them to light, making it more difficult for employers to ignore areas that need policy overhauls and assisting them with correcting this deficiency. 

What is the Definition of Harassment? 

Understanding what harassment is and what it entails is important for suspected victims. Federal law prohibits discrimination based on age, race, sex, disability, religion, color and national origin. Harassment is any unwelcome conduct that is based on any of those factors. If you are experiencing workplace problems, then the hostile workplace harassment experts at Red Banyan can work with legal counsel to assist. 

Red Banyan’s workplace discrimination experts—and the attorneys with whom we collaborate—understand the elements of federal law that protect employee rights and prohibit discrimination against employees.

Our team of crisis PR professionals also know that perception is reality, and that companies that do not have detailed HR policies in place often find themselves in the midst of PR crises because employees’ rights are being trampled. Conduct pervasive enough to create a workplace environment that any reasonable person would consider threatening is a big problem.

Our experienced crisis communications experts know that policies that do not include training, monitoring and enforcement can subsequently become recipes for disaster. Red Banyan’s team of crisis PR professionals have the experience to evaluate your workplace circumstances and make tailored suggestions about what could be done to improve your current workplace environment.

Workplace Harassment Can Result in Litigation

Hostile workplace harassment can include everything from offensive jokes and unwanted touching to sexually oriented comments, racial slurs, ethnic insults and offensive emails. Knowing your rights and knowing when to seek help is important.

Red Banyan’s hostile workplace harassment experts, which includes our crisis PR team and experienced attorneys, can help evaluate your situation and advise you on the options you may have outside of litigation. Although federal law prohibits workplace discrimination and harassment, not every violation requires litigation to resolve. Red Banyan seeks to help employees in troubled workplaces address the situations without having to turn to litigation.

Harassers can be supervisors, other employees or non-employees. Each unique circumstance may dictate a different resolution. Employers are supposed to create work environments where workers do not feel intimidated reporting discrimination or harassment and in which they feel safe.

Does your workplace have an established grievance process that has been publicized throughout the company? Red Banyan’s team of communications experts can help businesses create employee communication plans that inform and advise each employee of new policies as well as relevant internal and external company news.

Employees are PR representatives for their company, so it is important they understand the elements of hostile environment harassment and take steps to remain within the required behavioral guidelines.

Hostile Work Environment Bullying is a Key Source of Complaints

One major source of hostile environment harassment complaints involves workplace bullying, which can take many different forms. Workplace bullying can be a subtle but pervasive problem that can affect employee productivity and happiness and possibly result in litigation if left unchecked. Red Banyan’s workplace hostility and discrimination experts know that communicating proper policy to employees is key to nipping bullying in the bud. Our team of PR professionals can help businesses create and distribute appropriate policies to employees, so that everyone is on the same page.

Red Banyan’s hostile work environment experts will help you create actionable, common-sense policies that stop the toxic cycle of workplace bullying in its tracks. Employers must learn how to spot workplace bullying, how to neutralize its effects and how to implement policies while working as an organization to prevent it. Employers that respond quickly to bullying send a message that such behavior is neither appropriate nor acceptable. Red Banyan’s team of public relations professionals can help your company come up with innovative ways to communicate this information effectively to employees using proper messaging.

It is important to keep in mind that workplace bullying has a negative impact on the health and well-being of employees. It can also have a negative impact on workplace productivity and performance.

Crisis PR and Workplace Harassment

Red Banyan’s crisis communications and hostile environment harassment experts have the experience, background and know-how to guide your organization around the common pitfalls of workplace discrimination, bullying and harassment.

Our team of strategic communications professionals know how quickly these personnel problems can spiral out of control. Red Banyan’s PR experts can create messaging and talking points that will help your company get this issue under control while making sure company policy is thorough and on-point.

No business wants workplace harassment to morph into litigation, so it is important to evaluate company policies and make sure employees understand what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Red Banyan’s communications team is highly skilled in internal and external communications and can produce results quickly and effectively. Be aware that workplace bullying can affect employees’ health, impact productivity, damage employee morale and create reputation issues for the organization.

Making sure employees understand company policies and the employer knows how employees view the company’s existing work environment are two important factors that will establish a foundation to build upon. Red Banyan’s team of crisis PR professionals can help your organization survey employees, outline policies, create messaging and distribute newsletters to share information. Hostile work environment harassment can be tricky business, but Red Banyan has the knowledge and judgement to help.

Frequently Asked Questions – Hostile Environment Harassment:

  1. What is meant by hostile environment harassment?

A hostile work environment includes any type of unwelcome conduct including sexual harassment, discrimination, victimization, violence and other kinds of offensive behavior. This kind of unwanted behavior can infringe on the victim’s work environment and create an intimidating atmosphere.

2. What are the three main types of sexual harassment?

The three main types of sexual harassment are physical sexual harassment, verbal sexual harassment and visual sexual harassment. If an employee feels unsafe in his or her work environment and management has refused to correct the situation, then litigation could be the next step.

3. What are some examples of a toxic workplace?

The discussion of sex acts or the use of sexually suggestive language are two examples of problematic behavior that create a toxic and hostile work environment. Telling jokes about protected classes of people or making fun of someone’s physical appearance are other examples of behaviors that could certainly create hostile work environments.

To learn more about hostile environment harassment, contact the crisis PR and workplace harassment experts at Red Banyan. Red Banyan’s strategic communications team seeks to be a resource for good employees in challenging situations, and to help good organizations become even better.