How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Patrick, Esq. Your Own Question
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11284
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
60109343
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Patrick, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I will try to make this as short as possible. A little over

Customer Question

I will try to make this as short as possible. A little over a year ago, I started working at a new company. Not long after I started working I overheard some horror stories about the dept. that I was working in (not the firm itself, just my dept.), and I also found out that the person who's position I took, left rather abruptly after being mistreated. I also witnessed what I would consider inappropriate behavior towards other employees in my dept. None of this affected me personally until about 8 months into the job. For starters my boss was very nasty to me on several occasions, leaving me in tears in the bathroom. I did speak to HR about this and they said they would speak to his superiors. Recently there was another incident with a director who is very close with my boss. Supposedly I was doing something wrong, without my knowledge. Without going into a drawn out story, we discussed this, and I thought we were moving forward in a positive direction. My boss is on vacation and I recently overheard the director on the phone with him saying derogatory things about me. I was very upset. I didn't say anything to her, but I cannot believe that someone would say such things about me. I feel like I'm in a mean girls club in junior high rather than a professional office environment. I am really upset and would like to know what my rights are. I simply want to come into work each day, do the best job that I can and go home. I feel that I am in a hostile work environment and talking about me behind my back and saying mean things about me is hurtful and mean. I am striving to do the best job I can. Do I have any rights? I don't have anything in writing, but I know what I heard.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. I am very sorry to hear about the derogatory comments you overheard. What exactly was said about you? Were you being attacked based on your race, religion, gender, or a disability of some kind? Are you in a union? I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Patrick I am not in a union. Essentially I have to give her something to review and she made a derogatory comment about how I stand there and wait for her to review it that instant and how I don't know what I'm doing. I don't want to go into the entire story as it might be too lengthy but I did hear her make some negative comments about me
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
By the way is totally false as I do not stand there and expect her to review things the instant I hand them to her. The way she was talking sounded like she was making fun of me and degrading me to my boss
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Thank you. I can completely understand what this is upsetting. I have dealt with people like this before.

Unfortunately, though, from a legal standpoint, I'm afraid to say you would not typically have any recourse. Simply put, it is not illegal to be generally rude, mean or disrespectful. Such behavior only becomes unlawful when it relates directly to a legally protected trait, such as race, religion or gender, in which case it becomes a civil rights issue (i.e. yelling racial slurs).

In all other cases, rude and disrespectful behavior, while extremely unprofessional, just doesn't violate any employment laws. You can report the unprofessional behavior of your boss to HR or to their boss, and perhaps they will take some sort of action. But candidly, I would not advise that. Such a report would not be legally protected, meaning it would be perfectly legal for your boss to retaliate against you for it. In my experience, such complaints don't really serve any purpose anyway, and usually make matters worse.

All you can really do in this situation is attempt to address it on an interpersonal level. For example, by writing your boss an email explaining that if they have any concerns or criticism, that you would like to hear it directly. As much as I wish I could tell you otherwise, the law does not offer any assistance or protection.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you I appreciate your answer a little disappointed but I totally understand that legally I do not have any recourse thank you again
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

You are welcome, and again I am truly sorry I don't have better news.

If I have answered your question and cannot assist you any further for the time being, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service, which will enable me to receive credit for my time.

Kind regards,

Patrick

Related Employment Law Questions