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Term Details - Hostile Work Environment

Hostile Environment Harassment occurs when unwelcome conduct based upon an individualís age (40 or older), color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation or veteran status is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

A Hostile Environment is determined by looking at whether the conduct is objectively offensive (i.e., a reasonable person would find it to be) and subjectively offensive (i.e., the person who is the object of the unwelcome conduct finds it to be).

All relevant circumstances are examined as part of this determination, including but not limited to, the type of Harassment (e.g. whether verbal, physical, electronic); the frequency of the conduct, the severity of the conduct, the protected group status and relationship of the individuals involved, whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating, whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with work performance. When sufficiently severe, a single instance of unwelcome conduct (e.g., sexual assault) may constitute Hostile Environment Harassment.

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Last Edited: December 3rd, 2010