What can I do about a hostile and discriminatory workplace?

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What can I do about a hostile and discriminatory workplace?

I have a co-worker, who is in a position of authority. He is constantly singling me out to the point where he falsely accused me of fraud (but then tried to cover it up and telling me not to tell anyone). This is on-going and I have brought it up to our HR manager but nothing has changed. He is constantly making back handed comments about my sexuality and has even stated that he is homophobic. What do I do?

Asked on December 16, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) You do not indicate which state you are writing from. A number of states (e.g. NY, NJ, CA) make it illegal to harass or discriminate against someone in employment on the basis of their sexual orientation. (Note: federal law does not.) You should check the law of  your state (you could re-post your question here, with the state) to see if it protects against sexual-orientation-based discrimination. If it does and your company does not take appropriate action, you may have a legal claim.

2) If you have been "publically"--which includes to any coworkers; but does not include comments made only directly to your face, with no other witnesses--and falsely of fraud, that may be defamation, since that would be an untrue factual statement which damages your reputation. You may be able to sue this coworker for defamation.


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