What can I do bout favoritism and sexual harassment at work?

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What can I do bout favoritism and sexual harassment at work?

I work with 5 people at my place of work. Everyone pretty much gets along but they get along a little to much. They are always joking and making a lot sexual and non-sexual jokes, even on group text messages. I never was confrontable about this, however that I feel I have to play along because everyone does it. I never write back on the text messages because I don’t like it. Also, about the favoritism, there has been employees here that have not shown up to work without calling and even quitting but they bring them back with raises and promotions. I feel they don’t consider anyone else that is more qualified. I know if I tell upper management they might not listen and everyone will know it was me because I’m the only one who doesn’t play along. What should I do? What is the first step? I don’t want to here.

Asked on February 3, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, this behavior while rude and unprofessional, does not give rise to a legal claim. A harassing or hostile work environment is created when a superior's or co-worker's actions or behavior make it impossible for an employee to perform their job duties. Further, the behavior or actions must be discriminatory in nature. That is based on your race, religion, age (over 40), disability, national origin or the like. Additionally, one worker can be favored over another, again absent discrimination. Unfortunately, your situation does not met this standard. Your only protection here might be if this behavior violated the terms of a union agreement or employment contract. The bottom line is that in at "at will" work enviornment, a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. For your part, you can either continue to complain but risk termination, accept the situation, or quit.


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