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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19179
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I have been harassed by a coworker on a regular basis for the

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I have been harassed by a coworker on a regular basis for the past 10 months-raising her voice at me in the office and in meetings, giving me orders when she is not my supervisor, trying to destroy my credibility, tailgating me in traffic, sending harassing emails, etc. There are witnesses to this behavior on many ocassions. I filed 3 complaints of harassment under the company's policy with no results. I can easily prove that my employer has terminated others for harassment and inappropriate conduct. We now have a new president and I have a new boss. I have filed my 4th complaint after a meeting with 5 witnesses. From the research I've done, it appears I have enough evidence to file an EEO claim for harassment, but I'm confused. We're both white and over 40. If my employer still does not take any action, what are my options?
Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I bring nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines.

What would be the basis for your EEO claim? I'm interested to know what about your research suggests that this is an EEO matter.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

According to the EEOC definition of workplace harassment, this type of behavior “Becomes unlawful when:

  1. Enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment.

  2. The conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile or abusive.

  3. The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

  4. Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge, of the victim.

  5. The employer will be liable for harassment by non-supervisory employees over whom it has control if it knew, or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action.

Yes, all of that is true, but you're missing the one ingredient. An illegal basis for the harassment.

See, harassment has no actual legal meaning without an illegal motivation for the harassment. So, the information that you are citing is just talking about what sort of behavior counts as harassment, but that type of behavior alone is not illegal.

You also have to show that the harassment or hostile work environment is based on an illegal factor, meaning race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA use.

If you can not connect the harassment to one of those factors, the EEOC can not and will not accept the complaint. They do not deal with generalized harassment. The Supreme Court has stated that our employment laws are not a civility code meant to deal with generalized harassment, only harassment based on the factors that I've mentioned.

Some states have considered passing workplace dignity laws that would correct this sort of situation, but none have passed at this time.

So regrettably, you would not have an EEOC complaint here.

You would be able to file for unemployment even if you quit, claiming constructive discharge. You would also be able to attempt a "breach of implied contractual obligation" claim, based on the company anti-harassment policy, which likely does not limit its application to only the discriminatory factors that I mentioned earlier.

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