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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18791
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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My current employer is moving me from on shift to another due

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My current employer is moving me from on shift to another due to attitude issues. I have not once been written up for any infraction. There are others who are worse then me, I feel that I am being made an example of. They are punishing me for not going to department functions that are not mandatory. It is a hostile work environment. The city does not even have a HR representative. They feel we should present our problems to our division heads which is the fire chief. He is the one who made the decision to move me off shift. My direct supervisor has voiced his opinion that he did not like me to others. The department is stressful.
Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I bring nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines.

When you use the term "hostile work environment" are you referring to discrimination against you based on your race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA use?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, They make it so hard to work there that 12 individuals are looking for employment elsewhere. I feel that they are making an example out of me due to me not going to two different functions that are not mandatory. I said to them if I got paid OT then I would go, but my family comes first. There are others that have been written up and counseled for their attitude issues, no one has been moved off their assigned shift. I would be the first.

Here is the problem. Hostile work environment is a very specific claim, defined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

That Court stated that hostile work environment only involves harassment that is based on race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA use. The Court also noted that our employment laws are not a civility code. Harassment, poor work conditions, generally bad bosses, these things are not covered.

Some states have seen a problem with that and have tried to pass workplace dignity laws that would apply in this sort of situation, but no state has managed to pass such a law yet.

What that means, unfortunately, is that this sort of petty office politics is not illegal. Unless you have some sort of contractual guarantee to remain on a certain shift, the employer legally can change that shift at any time, with or without your consent unless it is for one of the illegal reasons that I've outlined and a few others.

The list is not large. Race, religion, gender, age, disability, FMLA use, worker's compensation retaliation, OSHA complaint retaliation, Department of Labor complaint retaliation, Sarbanes-Oxley retaliation (for securities and banking jobs).

If you can't fit this harassment into one of those categories, there just isn't any law against it. I wish I could tell you differently here, but that is the state of the law in this situation. I sue employers for a living and I promise you, if there was something I could tell you to get this resolved in your favor, I would. I'm simply respecting you enough to be honest with you here.
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