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Harassment & Hostile Work Environment

Harassment as Unlawful Employment Discrimination

Federal and Colorado law prohibits workplace harassment, including a hostile work environment, when the conduct is based on a legally protected class or trait – meaning, race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religion, disability, or age.

Harassment based on a protected class, such as race or sex, is unlawful employment discrimination.

Employees working at virtually every level of authority, in every position, are protected against unlawful harassment.

Employees in the private sector and federal, state, and local government have the right to be free from workplace harassment.

We welcome the opportunity to provide experienced counsel and representation to persons subjected to unlawful workplace harassment.

Murray Law represents clients asserting harassment and discrimination claims in federal and state court lawsuits, filing discrimination charges with federal, state, and local government agencies, and mediation and arbitration proceedings.

Steven Murray has successfully represented individuals asserting discrimination claims in lawsuits before many United States District Courts, including obtaining jury verdicts and resolutions on behalf of clients in cases before the United States District Court for the District of Colorado and mediation proceedings.

Harassment-Hostile Work Environment Claim

The specific elements of a claim for harassment or a hostile work environment claim depend on the facts. The claim includes these general elements:

  • The conduct was unwelcome.
  • The conduct was offensive.
  • The conduct was based on a protected trait, such as sex, or directed against a person because of the individual’s protected class, such as race.
  • The conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter a term, condition, or privilege of employment by creating an abusive working environment.
  • The complainant perceived the environment to be abusive or hostile.
  • A reasonable person in the complainant’s circumstances would consider the working environment to be abusive or hostile.
  • A basis for employer liability.

Totality of Circumstances

The totality of the circumstances must be considered in evaluating a hostile work environment claim. The conduct is considered cumulatively instead of in isolation. The factors for consideration include:

  • The nature, severity, and frequency of the conduct.
  • Whether the conduct was by a co-worker, supervisor, or customer.
  • Effect of the conduct on the complainant’s mental or emotional state.
  • Whether others joined in the conduct.
  • Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person.
  • Whether the conduct was physically threatening.
  • Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with an employee’s work performance.

Depending on the facts, harassment of an employee by a supervisor, co-worker, customer, or client may impose liability on the employer for the harassment.


Murray Law welcomes the opportunity to provide legal counsel and representation to persons confronting unlawful workplace harassment based on a protected class under the law. Please call Steven Murray at 720-600-6642.

Client Reviews

I found Steven at a very stressful time. He has been compassionate, timely, honest & an all around pleasure to work with. His knowledge of employment law is deep and effortless. I am so pleased he is in my corner advocating for me! Thank you, Steven!


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