Employment Law

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I am currently employed for a company and feel I am in a…

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Good morning. I...

Good morning. I am currently employed for a company and feel I am in a hostile work environment. I am in a difficult situation because I cannot quit (I'm a single mother). I have been searching for a new job but have not had any luck yet. I work with an employee who has committed murder but was found not guilty due to reasons of insanity. When I discovered her past, I decided to get all co-workers off my social media accounts. I talked to each one of them and said due to a recent change in positions, it was the professional thing to do. Everyone was fine with it, except for the employee mentioned earlier. When I told her, she reacted by crying and stomping around the office and went to my manager and complained. She then left early. This happened in April of this year. I was hoping things would calm down but they have not. Now, she decorates peoples office for the holidays and excludes mine and just constantly does small things to try and single me out. I went to my supervisor when her office mate quit unexpectedly and sent me a screenshot of what Teresa (the employee with the criminal past) sent her. She was berating her over text and the employee who quit finally had to block her from her phone. I reported this information to my supervisor who said she would handle it, but nothing ever came of it. It is to the point, that I don't even want to walk down the hallway. Would this be considered a "hostile work environment"? And if I was to quit because I fear for my safety, could I get unemployment until I was able to find another job?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Colorado

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

At will

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 10 minutes by:
11/28/2017
Employment Lawyer: Marsha411JD, Lawyer replied 4 months ago
Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20,754
Experience: Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Verified

Hello,

Thank you for the information and your question. Although your working environment may be uncomfortable, and perhaps even hostile, it would not be considered a "hostile work environment" from a legal standpoint. In order to be a illegal HWE, the behavior must not only be "severe and pervasive" but, more importantly, it must be motivated by your gender, race, national origin, age (over 40), disability, religion, pregnancy or military service.

In other words, there is no unlawful HWE without the unlawful discrimination element. Anything less is most definitely unprofessional, but not illegal.

As for quitting and qualifying for UI benefits, although it wouldn't necessarily be required that you have a substantiated unlawful HWE case, you would have to have proof that this other employee made an overt physical or verbal threat to your safety and after you reported it to your HR Department, the behavior either continued, or you were retaliated against by the employer (not the employee.) Then you might have a basis to collect UI benefits.

It is never a preferred action for an employee to quit a job in anticipation that they will receive UI benefits. There are just too many variables and the State will decide based on very specific facts from both sides. It is generally a better course of action to look for a new job while still employed and then leave the current one once you get that new job. The action is up to the employee, but this is the safest route from an economic standpoint.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could reply to this answer and let me know that I covered your question and also take a moment to leave a positive rating in the ratings box on this page for my efforts to explain the law of your issue to you, then the Site will give me credit for assisting you today. Thank you.

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Employment Lawyer: Marsha411JD, Lawyer replied 4 months ago

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 28th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies, or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit (paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither.

Please keep in mind that I cannot control the law or your circumstances, and am ethically bound to provide you with accurate information based on the facts you give me, even if the news is not good. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-marsha411jd/

Thank you.

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The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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