What to do about harrassment at work?

UPDATED: Aug 22, 2011

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What to do about harrassment at work?

I’m a janitor and at my place of there 6 people there. I get harassed by them everyday; it’s been going on for almost 3 months. They make fun of me, call me stupid, retard, fagot, etc. I also got threatened when I told their supervisor about what’s going on. They tell me that they can’t say anything to their employees because I don’t work for their company. They make fun off me everyday. It’s making my job harder daily because of them. I already have a medical conditions – I am bi-polar and suffer from depression already. They will take my garbage can and hide it from me when I take a full bag of trash out and stuff. Can you help me?

Asked on August 22, 2011 Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you work for a company that has been hired to clean at this location, then even though you do not work for the company these other employees work for, they still may not discriminate against or harass you--the fact that you have been hired to provide janitorial services, either directly or through a different company, means you are still working there (just not getting your paycheck from them) and so they cannot engage in illegal workplace harassment or discrimination.

The issue is whether they are engaginig in illegal workplace discrimination: under federal law, to harass you because of your race, sex, religion, age over 40 or a disability is illegal. PA also makes it illegal to discrimination on the basis of ancestory, national origin, or having a GED (rather than a traditional high school diploma). If you believe you are being harassed due to one of these reasons, you may have a legal claim or cause of action and you might try contacting the Pennsylavnia Human Relations Commission (PHRC) at a website address I'll provide below. Note that if the harassment is not because of one of these protected categories, however, it is legal--only the grounds given above are legally protected.

Here's the website--good luck:


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