What is my recourse if I am the victim of harassment by a co-worker?

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What is my recourse if I am the victim of harassment by a co-worker?

i am a 60 year old white female who has been harassed by a 30 year old African American female on and off for over a year now. She has had numerous run-ins with other employees in the office but she has singled me out because I am older and have numerous health problems – high blood

pressure/coronary artery disease/bi-polar depression and anxiety. I try to ignore her but that only works for so long. She was written up last year about her behavior and warned if she had any more

problems with anyone she would be terminated but that hasn’t happened, I actually filed a police report last year but unless she strikes me the police can’t do anything. Her aggressive behavior is affecting my health. My blood pressure went high to where I had to lie down in the office and than had to see my primary doctor for another blood pressure pill and be put on Xanax. I am scared that the stress is going to cause me to have a heart attack or worse.

Asked on December 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you believe that she is in fact targetting you due to age and/or health, this may be illegal emploment discrimination if your employer fails to take reasonable action after you have made your complaint/report (and after they have had some reasonable amount of time to investigate, look into the matter, etc.). It is illegal to harass an employee because she is 40 years old or older, or because of medical issues. An employer's responsibility is to investigate reports that one employee is harassing another on these bases and, if they find the report(s) credible, to take some action to prevent the harassment from continuing. If the employer fails to act after receiving credible reports of harassment, that can make the employer liable. Therefore, if this continues and your employer refuses or fails to take action, you may wish to contact the federal EEOC (which enforces the anti-discrimination and -harassment laws) to file a complaint about age- and disability-based (that is, medical condition-based) discrimination. And if you feel that your race (white) is also another factor in her harassment, also add race- or color-based discrimination to the complaint, too.


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