What do I need for evidence of a hostile work environment?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What do I need for evidence of a hostile work environment?

I work for a husband and wife whos company was bought out by a large corporation. They are requiring 50 hour weeks with variable rate overtime for 5 months and then back to 40 hour weeks. My title is landscape designer but I never speak with a client or leave the office. I have a witness to the verbal agreement of 50/50 field and office labor. I have an audio recording of my boss berating me and twisting my words while pushing me into mental exhaustion. He called me mentally weak. I don’t have that recorded unfortunately I have texts from w different occasions of revisions made to my designs at 10 and 11pm the night before their due – I had these designs completed a week prior. My employers are rude, speak only of me behind my back, don’t listen to me or my needs/suggestions and micromanage my every move. They make my day to day health mentally and physically deteriorate. I need help, I will be the second person in a year to leave this situation – I don’t want them to do this to anyone else.

Asked on April 20, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You are assuming that there is something illegal about a hostile work environment: however, there is not, unless the hostility is aimed at you due to one of a small number of specifically protected characteristics, chief of which are race, color, national origin, age 40 or over, religion, disability, or sex. If you believe (and believe you can prove) that the hostility is aimed at you due to one of these things, you can contact the federal EEOC. The evidence you would need is evidence that there is not another cause of this treatment, and/or any documentation or witness testimony that managers or coworkers are treating you badly due to one of these charactertistics.
But if the hostiility is not aimed at you due a specifically protected characteristic and therefore is not illegal discrimination, it is legal and you can't do anything about it. The law does not require fair, professional, etc. at work--as long as you are not the victim of illegal discrimination, the employer may be as hostile to you as it likes.

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