What is Employment or Workplace Harassment?
As an employee in Wisconsin, you are protected from harassment in the workplace by both Wisconsin state law, Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA), and federal laws, such as Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Generally, harassment is comments or conduct in the workplace that is directly or indirectly about an individual based on a protected category, such as the individual’s race, sex, or disability. The comments or conduct must be offensive to the individual and must be unwelcome, meaning that the comments or conduct were not invited or also engaged in by the individual. It is generally also required that the comments or conduct happen repeatedly.
Who Can Be A Harasser?
Under both Wisconsin state and federal laws, an employer can be liable for harassment for the actions of the following:
- A supervisor or any individual that is higher up in the chain of command over an individual, as that person’s purpose is to represent the employer and the employer’s interests in the workplace
- A coworker, if a supervisor, a Human Resources representative, or any other individual higher up in the chain of command is aware of the harassment and fails to take steps to stop the harassment
- A client, customer, or vendor, who spends time at your workplace
How to Prove Employment or Workplace Harassment
Harassment under the law covers comments and conduct that are far more severe and significant than simple teasing, off-hand comments, or isolated incidents that are not in and of themselves severe enough to pass muster.
To prove your employer is liable for employment or workplace harassment, you must generally establish a “hostile work environment” exists in the workplace. To do so, you must establish each of the following:
- You are a member of a protected class (such as race, gender, religion, etc.)
- Harassing comments or conduct were unwelcome
- Harassing comments or conduct was “severe or pervasive” enough to create a hostile or abusive work environment
- There is a basis for employer liability
If a harassed employee cannot satisfy all of these prongs, then they cannot establish harassment. For this reasons, proving employment or workplace harassment can be far more difficult that it sounds.
If you believe that you have been subjected to any of the following types of employment or workplace harassment, Walcheske & Luzi, LLC can help.
- Age (Over 40)
- Creed or Religion
- Genetic Information
- Hostile Work Environment
- National Origin or Ethnicity
- Race or Color
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Orientation
The Walcheske & Luzi, LLC Difference
At Walcheske & Luzi, LLC it is our pledge to provide open and honest advice, taking the time to listen, counsel, and advise. We will work closely with you to determine if you are the victim of workplace harassment. Tell us about your workplace harassment situation, we’re ready to help.
Check out our testimonials section, where former clients have described their past experiences with us.