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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19182
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I am an mds nurse. I was working short last six weeks. The

Customer Question

I am an mds nurse. I was working short for the last six weeks. The other day at work at 10am we were asked to help out with answering bells etc when we can. I fully intended to do this. At 12:20. When i was having lunch my administrator came to my office saying he had a bunch of disgruentled staff out on the unit that felt like i was not doing my part. I tried to explain that i would help out but he didnt want to hear it. I tried to tell him i had been working short for six weeks. He did this in front of another staff member. Also, I was the only manager targeted. I felt so betrayed. Later that day i gave in my resignation. The other nurse in the office at the time said she couldnt believe he did that. The staff on the unit saw him come in to reprimand me. They have asked me to return to work but it will be hard to work with those people now. Would this be considered workplace harassment?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

Workplace harassment/hostile work environment is actually a much more restricted term than it sounds like it would be. It certainly seems like it should apply in your situation. However, the Supreme Court of the United States was very specific when it chose to define these terms, noting that our employment laws are not meant to be a civility code. The Court held that our laws don't regulate workplace politics, but only concerns illegal forms of discrimination. That means that you must have both the harassing behavior and evidence showing a discriminatory motivation.

Now, while being treated differently than others is a form of discrimination, not all forms of discrimination are illegal. For instance, it's not illegal to promote one person over others, even then though that is technically a form of discrimination or preference. One person was promoted and others were not. What matters is the basis for that decision.

So, on your facts, just being the only person treated in the fashion that you were is not, by itself, illegal discrimination. Instead, you have to also establish that the underlying reason for the treatment was your race, religion, gender, age, disability or recent FMLA (medical leave) use. Other forms of discrimination revolve around retaliation for your use of certain legal rights, like OSHA complaints, worker's compensation claims, Wage and Hour complaints to the state or Union activity/organization.

The point though is that without showing one of these illegal motivations, there would be no cause of action against the employer for the treatment you described.

If you can suggest one of those motivations (as you differ in some way from all the other managers that were not targeted), then you may have a cause of action. You'd need to contact the EEOC, Department of Labor, OSHA or a worker's compensation attorney, depending on which factor was discriminated against, because you'd need to quickly file a claim.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required. If you need further assistance, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.