What constitutes creating a hostile work environment as the result of treatment by a co-worker?

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What constitutes creating a hostile work environment as the result of treatment by a co-worker?

Another employee speaks to me in such a way that it makes me physically sick, anxious and uncomfortable. The person directed to handle employee matters is weak and non-confrontational; they don’t want to confront the employee creating the environment.

Asked on July 11, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

For your workplace environment to be considered to be a "hostile", it must be one that prevents you from doing your job duties reasonably. So a superior or co-worker, either by behavior or actions, must create an environment that is counterproductive to your performing your work duties. However, these behaviors typically must be "discriminatory" in nature and are not just a result of rude or unprofessional behavior.

Note:  Workplace discrimination is action taken against you because you are a member of a "protected class"; in other words race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, etc. must not be a factor in your treatment.

Based on the limited facts that you have presented, it's not clear that you have a showing of an actionable claim. You gave no details as to your co-worker's behavior or actions. Accordingly quite possibly now is the time for you to consult directly with an employment law attorney in your area.


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