What constitutes harassment of co-workers?

UPDATED: Jun 7, 2011

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What constitutes harassment of co-workers?

I’m going to be out of town the 13th-24th and I have shifts on the 14th, 17th, and 18th I had to get covered. I got the 14th and the 17th covered so I kept asking around for someone to cover the 18th. Some girls weren’t responding so I texted them a couple more times asking about getting that shift covered. No response. So I asked if any of them were actually getting any of my texts. I just got a call from my manager saying that texting those girls is harassment and I need to stop. Am I harassing them?

Asked on June 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There are two different issues:

From a legal perspective, the only banned "harassment" is against certain defined, protected positions, like sexual harassment, which does *not* need to be specifcally about "sex." For example, if you were expecting female coworkers to respond and berating them when they did not, but did not also criticize male coworkers for not responding, the might be sexual harassment.

From a business perspective, unless you havve an employment contract protecting your position, you are an "employee at will." As an employee at will, you could be disciplined or fired at any time, for any reason...which means that if your manager feels you are annonying or "harassing" coworkers, he is entitled to tell you to stop. Remember: companies can set their own rules for  their workplaces; it's legal for a company to say, don't email or text coworkers, either at all or at least no repeatedly, for example.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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