Can I sue my manager and workplace for harassment or causing a hostile work environment?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I sue my manager and workplace for harassment or causing a hostile work environment?

The car dealership I work for was recently bought out. The new district manager that was assigned to my dealership has caused issues from day one. There was an issue between myself and another co-worker. When he came over to address the situation, he told us if either of us come to him with an issue, he will fire both of us. We have since avoided one another completely as to not jeopardize our jobs. This week I was accused of making death threats towards the other employee. This is a completely false accusation. The manager in question claimed an anonymous source reached out to HR to report the situation. After having a meeting with HR and being placed on a final warning contract, I was informed today after speaking with the VP of the company that the anonymous report came from my manger’s assistant. I was informed that the manager is the one who claimed to have overheard. He told his assistant who then reported it to HR. Since this is untrue, he has no proof or witness to back up the claim. My work performance is great according to my other managers and I have not caused or been a part of any issues since my job was threatened. In the meeting with HR, I mentioned the managers threats and HR corrected him in front of me. I am one more false allegation away from losing my job. The manager’s actions are causing a hostile environment between me and my co-worker just so he can punish both of us for it. What can I do?

Asked on September 29, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A hostile working enviornment has to do with an employee's being treated in a differently than there co-workers due to their race, religion, disability, age (over 40), gender or nationality. Merely rude or even unprofessional behavior does not qualify. Accordingly, you have no legal claim here. The fact so that in an "at will' employment relationships, a business can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit unless the terms of an employment contract or union agreement provide otherwise.

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 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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