What constitutes a hostile work environment?

My employer, a state agency, recently called me into HR to tell me that a news reporter had complained about me and that it was looking potentially serious. I was told that they would be investigating and would get back with me but wouldn’t give me a timeline, only that they hoped it would be before the weekend. This issue stems from an issue that was poorly handled in the state capitol in which I was forced to do multiple things that I disagreed with. As a communications professional, it is my job to work with the public to answer their questions. During this issue, I was given little information to work from concerning a major highway closure. This issue created a public movement and later the decision to close was forced to be reversed by the governor’s office. After that I was told not to make public comment until there was a statement. Meanwhile, the information leaked and I was bombarded with questions from the public and the media. I wasn’t allowed to say anything and one interaction with a media outlet, in which the reporter i talked to complained that I was

Asked on February 1, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

A claim of a hostile work enviornment is not applicable here. In order for that, there would have had to have been some form of legally actionable discrimination invovlved. In other words, your treatment would have to have been due to your race, religion, gender, nationality, age (over 40), or disability. Accordingly, you have no claim here. However, you may have recourse for breach of contract if your treatment violates the terms of any applicable union or employment agreement.

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

A claim of a hostile work enviornment is not applicable here. In order for that, there would have had to have been some form of legally actionable discrimination invovlved. In other words, your treatment would have to have been due to your race, religion, gender, nationality, age (over 40), or disability. Accordingly, you have no claim here. However, you may have recourse for breach of contract if your treatment violates the terms of any applicable union or employment agreement.


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