Is it legal for an employer to create an uncomfortable atmosphere of fear and turmoil in the workplace?

There are demeaning remarks, angry tirades that include smashing of phones and screaming and cursing at employees and creating a general fear of approaching them during the performance of your job.

Asked on February 23, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Thereis a cause of action for an employer creating or allowing to be created a "hostile work enviornment". Workplace harassment has to do with words and/or actions made by superiors and/or co-workers that create an environment that is so adversarial and antagonistic that it prevents an employee from performing their job duties in a resonable manner. That having been said, the conduct must be "discriminatory" and not merely the result of rude or boorish behavior. Specifically, the action taken against an employee must be due to their being a member of a "protected class". In other words, their treatment must be based on their religion, age (over 40), race, disability, national origin, etc). While there seems to be no question but that your boss's behavior is unprofessional, there may not be anything that you can do about it. Based on the limited facts presented, your employer's remarks do not appear to rise to the level of an actionable claim. That is unless there exisits company policy covering such a situation or you are protected against such behavior under the terms of an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement.


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