What can I do if I feel that I’m being harrassed at work?

I was written up yesterday for being 1 hour late due to no power at my house. In the write-up in says that I also had left work early 3 times. I asked my supervisor so those 3 times that I came to you and asked if I could leave early and you said, “Yes that’s fine”, are now being held against me? She indicated that yes they were. This company is not doing well and has been laying off a lot of people company wide. I work for corporate in HR so I don’t have anyone that I can go to above that for issues. I am at the point that I don’t want to work here anymore as it feels like a hostile environment but don’t think I can get unemployment.

Asked on December 10, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The problem for employees is that employers *are* allowed to harass their employees, to create hostile work environments, and/or to take actions against them for no or even false reasons; this is a consequence of employment being employment at will.
The exception is, you cannot be harassed, etc. because of certain specifically protected characteristics, the main ones of which are race, religion, age over 40, gender, or disability. If you feel that you are being targeted for harassment because of one of these reasons (and not, say, due to economics-based layoffs or reductions), you may have an employment discrimination claim, and should speak with the federal EEOC or your state's equal/civil rights agency.
But if the harassment is due to a protected characteristic, it would be legal.


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