What to do if my niece recently quit her part-time job because she was threatened by one of the male employees and she no longer feels safe returning to work?

Everyone heard him make the threat, including the manager on duty. The manager actually seemed to take the guy’s side. Management expected my niece to continue to work with this guy and even tried to shame her when she mentioned that she was quitting after discussing the situation with her family. There have been several instances of the management siding with the men on this job against female employee. For example, this apparently was not the first time this male employee threatened one of the female employees. Does my niece have any legal rights in this situation?

Asked on January 27, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Your neice should speak with an employment  law attorney; she may have a legal claim or cause of action.

1) Sexual harassment or discrimination at work is illegal, and it is also illegal for an employer to not do anything about sexual harassment when it is or should be aware of it. If this male employee has been threatening female employees and management turns a blind eye, they may be  liable for sexual harassment.

2) While a company is not responsible if  an employee commits a criminal act without warning, if they know that somone poses a threat to others and fail to take action, they may be liable for "negligent supervision." If this man has threatened other employees in the past, it may be that the employer was obligated to take action to prevent him from continuing to do so.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

From what you have written about your niec seemingly has been harassed improperly and perhaps discriminated because she is a female. from what you have written, you niece should consult with a labor law attorney and/or a representative with her local department of labor to see what her legal options are.

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