What legally constitutes a hostile workplace?

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What legally constitutes a hostile workplace?

I had no choice but to quit a job I had deep passion for. A new supervisor had fired about 3/4 of the experienced staff in our specialized area of mechanics, and for over 1 1.2 years myself and others had written complaints of his bullying (and incompetence in our specialized field). The company/owners ignored the problems. Then, about 2 weeks ago, he approached me and demanded I support him in lying about my former supervisor. I refused and told him he was wrong – things were not better or safer since he was there. I pointed a few things out. He got madder and things escalated. At least 1 other employee went and hid. I wanted to hit him but quit instead. Now no UI?

Asked on June 30, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, unfortunately, no UI.

There is a common misconception that a workplace may not be hostile. That is not true. A workplace may not be hostile against an employee specifically because of that employee's protected characteristic, the main ones of which are race, sex, age over 40, religion, and disability. The workplace may be hostile--even incredibly, stupidly, psychotically hostile and toxic--for any other  reason, and a supervisor may be a bully, an incompetent, etc. The law simply does not guaranty respect, dignity, or decency in the workplace.

That being the case, because you quit--even if for a very understandable reason--you cannot get unemployment insurance, because unemployment insurance is not available when an employee chooses to separate from employment.


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