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John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5557
Experience:  Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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My office manager at my work place has single me out and has

Customer Question

My office manager at my work place has single me out and has verbally in front of other managers said that I could not get something because she hates me. Than has gone to other employers in the office and complained about my desk not looking professional and than proceed to ring in the rest of the office to attack me in regards ***** ***** desk. as my desk also as the same personal items as everyone else in the office does. She has not once come to me and request for me to remove them. After I left she and several other coworkers ganged up on one of my co workers and made her remove my personal items. No one else in the office was told to remove there personal items. Than when I come in the morning she repeatedly walks past my desk and smirks at me. This is our Office Manager. What are my rights here? and What rights is she breaking?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  John replied 2 years ago.
Hi, thanks for submitting your question today. My name is John. I have over 13 years of legal and consulting experience in this area. I’m happy to assist you with your question today. I'm sorry to hear about your treatment on the job.
I'll need to ask you some preliminary questions before I can give you an answer to your question. Are you in a union or do you otherwise have a contract for "just cause" (as opposed to “at will" employment which is the default employment condition)? Do you think the manager who has targeted you has an ulterior motive in terminating you, perhaps your age, race, gender, disability or religious beliefs?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I do not work in a union. I am not sure what you mean about the just cause? The manager has started this when I questioned her about needing my SSN. And went and complained about how I did not want to give her it as she was leaving everyone else personal SSN information wide open at the front desk. And the sheet that needed to be filled out was only for person of contact. our head quarters office has all the personal information needed. After that things have now escalated.
Expert:  John replied 2 years ago.
Unfortunately, there are no laws in place that protect workers from generally bad treatment that is not based on an illegal reason. The term "hostile work environment" comes to us from the Supreme Court of the United States. It is a very specific term. Though it certainly sounds like it would apply in your situation, the high court required another ingredient beyond the types of things you are talking about here.
Hostile work environment is illegal harassment (ingredient 1) which is based on your race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA use (ingredient 2). Without that second factor, there can be no hostile work environment. This is because the Supreme Court stated that our employment laws are not meant to be a civility code, but are only meant to deal with illegal discrimination.
I do note that you feel this is unlawful treatment, but the list that I have outlined are the forms of discrimination that are actually illegal. Race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA use. Treating people differently based on just a personal dispute of personalities, while very unprofessional, is not illegal discrimination because there is no statute that makes it illegal.
Now, some states have considered passing workplace dignity laws that might apply in situations where the harassment in generalized and not specifically directed at or based on a discriminatory factor like race or age. Unfortunately, no state has managed to pass such a law at this time.
You have done the right thing by bringing this to the attention of the Branch Manager. What I would also suggest you do is think about and document going back as far back as you can remember all of the relevant events related to this matter. So when you meet with the manager you have a clear concise conversation. Ultimately if the organization is not going to do anything about it, you should consider other employment options. because life is too short to have to deal with toxic people like this.
I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, ***** ***** wish you all the best with this matter.