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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Philadelphia Attorney On Hostile Work Environment

One of the most common laments we hear is a "I work in a hostile work environment!" Often, the employee feels that he/she is being treated unfairly or differently than other employees. However, not every unpleasant work situation is illegal.

There is a big difference between a lawful hostile work environment and an unlawful hostile work environment! Since nearly every state in America is an "employment at will" state, the first thing you need to know is that you can be fired for any reason, unless it is either an illegal discriminatory reason (i.e. you are fired for something beyond your control such as your age, race, sex, national origin, handicap, etc.) or a retaliatory reason (i.e. you are fired because you had complained about being treated in an illegal discriminatory fashion or because you engaged in some other legally protected action (i.e. complained about sexual harassment, filed a workers' compensation claim, sought Family and Medical Leave, sought overtime to which you believed you were entitled, took jury duty, etc.)

Unfortunately, there is no legal protection if you are fired because of a personality conflict, or because management simply prefers a co-employee more than you, or because your boss does not like your shoes. These things may be unfair, they may be morally and ethically repugnant, but they are not illegal.

So what is a"hostile work environment" as that term is used in legal circles? It describes a work environment that promotes and/or unreasonably permits discrimination against a particular employee or class of employees because of his/her/their age, race, sex, national origin, disability, religion, etc.

Common examples of a hostile work environment would be where the employer permits the pervasive use of language or non-verbal expression that is hostile to persons of certain protected classifications. Such conduct often forms the basis for a claim of Sexual Harassment or Title VII Discrimination.

Another example of actionable misconduct is where the employer engages in Retaliation after after an employee registers a complaint to management or to a state or federal authority concerning any state or federal employment law, such as those laws making sexual harassment illegal, or those relating to as Overtime claims, Discrimination, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Sarbanes-Oxley , etc.


NOTESee Horrible Bosses: Boss Tells Woman to Forget About Daughter at Work "Because She's Dead."  Does such a callous statement give rise to a hostile work environment claim?

Do you work in Malvern, Plymouth Meeting, Blue Bell, Lansdale, Media, Doylestown, Exton, Downingtown, Newtown Square, Philadelphia or surrounding communities? Do you believe you are being discriminated against, treated unfairly, being subjected to a hostile work environment? We help people in Southeastern Pennsylvania with such situations everyday. Sometimes we help them keep their jobs. Sometimes we help them get freed of a terrible work situation and get them on unemployment. Sometimes, we sue their employers for illegal work practices.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

i work in a nursing home in punxsutawney,pa
ththey sent a letter out to all their c.n.a.s
it states that if you are off and they try to call you but if you do not answer that call that is wrote up as a refusal to work.
i do not set my phone 24/7.
also that you can only refuse overtime in a pay period once.
after taht you arw wrote up
the pay period is only 14days .
so they are saying they can force you to work overtime hour 9 in 14 days.
is this legal or harrasment?

Anonymous said...

My sister is out of work on disability. Her employer will no longer accept the reason for disability from her doctor. Her doctor will not write anything different than he has previously. Her original doctor has also sent her to a surgeon and says that the surgeon must fill out her disability paperwork the surgeon will not fill out any paperwork until after he does surgery on 4/3/09. Also, her original doctor will not release her back to work either. Although her employer did advise her that if he did it would be like saying that the time she was out was a fraud. In the meantime, she is no longer able to receive her disability payments and now fears her employer will terminate her as she waits to have the surgery? What can and should she do?