Maxwell C Livingston
Claim for Hostile Work Environment in the State of Wisconsin Based on Race
The test for a hostile work environment claim is very, very high in the state of Wisconsin. For an employee to claim he or she has suffered from a hostile work environment on the basis of discriminatory treatment, he or she must prove that the “unfair” treatment on the basis of race was of such a high degree that it subjectively made work difficult for the employee who suffered from the treatment, as it would have objectively made work difficult for the average person of that race in the same situation.
This test doesn’t sound so difficult to meet, but case law tells the story that it is. To meet the objective part of the test, one typically must show that the unfair treatment was more than “mere” comments unless the comments were frequent and repeated over a long period of time. In cases in which there has been inappropriate physical contact, this test is much easier to meet.