What should Ido in regards to a hostile work environment?

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What should Ido in regards to a hostile work environment?

I work in a big retail store and my co-workers are spreading around the store that I’m supposedly gay. A couple people have asked me And I feel harassed. People are now giving me weird looks and attitude. This has been going on for 2 months. Last week Ifinally approached my human resources personnel and all they said was that they are going to make an investigation; she didn’t apologize or anything. All she said was that she can’t promise anything because witnesses forget over time. It’s been almost 2 weeks and nothing has been done about it.

Asked on July 20, 2011 Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A "hostile work environment" is a workplace environment that prevents you from doing your job duties in a reasonable manner. In such an environment a superior or co-worker, either by behavior or actions, creates an environment that is counterproductive to your performingyour work duties. However, these behaviors typically must be "discriminatory" in nature and are not just a result of rude or unprofessional behavior. And discrimination in a workplace setting means action taken against you because you are a member of a "protected class"; in other words based on your race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, etc.

Based on what you write, you should contact either the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state's labor department. You may also wish to consult with an employment attorney (the initial consultation is often free; ask about this before making an appointment) to see if you do have an actionable claim.


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