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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38566
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Anne. I am a licensed social worker who started a new job

Customer Question

Hi Anne. I am a licensed social worker who started a new job four months ago. I am being watched so closely and reported on so often that its beginning to cause problems. My supervisor has the "team" watching my every move and reporting findings in meetings. I feel as though the team has become one big gang of bullies. Do you think this may be harassment or creating s hostile work environment?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.


Sorry for the delay, but Anne is not available. Harassment/hostile work environment only arises within the scope of sex discrimination. There are two classifications: quid pro quo -- where the harassment demonstrates an expectation of sexual favors in exchange for promotion or the maintenance of one's employment; or hostile environment -- wherein comments or conduct by coworkers or supervisors create a clear discomfort in the claimant based upon sex.

Quid pro quo is easy to understand. Example: manager tells subordinate that if she wants to keep her job, she needs to get intimate with him. Hostile environment is more complicated. Example: coworkers constantly talk about naked women at a strip club in front of woman employee. Employee complaints to management -- management does nothing. This is actionable sex discrimination, based upon a hostile work environment.

So, the first issue for you is whether or not your coworkers or managers are of the opposite sex. If yes, and they are making you feel uncomfortable because you are of the opposite sex, then you have a claim.

Otherwise, it's just nasty office pecking order politics, and regrettably, there is no legal action available to force a change in the work environment. Which means that you may want to dust off your resume and seek work elsewhere -- if you can't stand the environment.

I realize that my answer may not be exactly what you were hoping to read. However, under the circumstances, the best that I can do is to explain what the law is and is not, so that you can avoid expending valuable resources looking for answers that do not exist, and concentrate on the options that are actually available.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

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