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The law prohibits employers from denying equal employment opportunities to people on the basis of legally protected traits, such as race, religion, disability or gender. In other words, if it could be shown that a particular employee was denied employment BECAUSE of their race, or BECAUSE of their gender, that would be a violation of the law. It is the employer's motivation that matters.
An employer is not required to treat everyone equally or to give everyone equal opportunities to apply for a position. An employer is ONLY prohibited from basing such things on legally protected trait. So, unless you can show that a job was filled without posted in order to deny you an opportunity BECAUSE of your race, religion, gender, disability etc., the fact that the position was posted would no inherently be illegal.
As for what constitutes a hostile work environment, it is not illegal to be generally rube, mean or disrespectful. It is only illegal if the hostility relates to a legally protected trait and is so severe or pervasive as to materially alter the terms of the employment. That is the legal definition of actionable harassment. Courts have stated that a "stray comment," unless particularly egregious, generally will not be enough to give rise to a hostile work environment claim. The hostility must be severe or pervasive. In those cases, the employee suffering the hostile work environment can sue for emotional distress.
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