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Hostile Work Environment Definition
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The Hostile Work Environment That Brought Down Paula Deen

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Many people do not realize that Paula Deen's troubles do not just stem from her admitting that she used the N-word, but that she admitted using the N-word during a hostile work environment lawsuit filed against her.  Even if you are a huge Paula Deen fan, you probably have more in common with the employee than you have in common with Paula Deen.  Do any of these things sound like something you've experienced at work? You suffer through work days under a supervisor who: Makes sexual comments Utters racist remarks Looks up dirty jokes and pictures on his office computer Promotes only people who remind him of himself, and Threatens anyone who questions him When you or a co-worker finally muster up the courage to say something to your boss’s boss, one of three things happens: You are … [Read more...]

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Your Comments: Does Living Through a Hostile Work Environment Feel Like Being a POW?

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So many of you replied to the my last article, about how living through a hostile work environment feels like living through a prison camp, that I decided to post some of the most insightful and heartfelt responses.  (I asked their permission too).  Some people think I went too far, but most of you were supportive of the point I'm trying to make: that feeling trapped by a bullying abusive boss leads to the same feelings of panic, desperation, and even PTSD that prisoners of war feel. The actual physical experiences are NOT the same. The feelings are very similar. Without further ado, here are the comments -- and please chime in with your own thoughts at the bottom of this post: From "Johnec" who works with former prisoners of war as part of his own job: "I work with former POW’s and … [Read more...]

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Has Your Bully Boss Said Anything This Stupid?

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Sometimes the stupid stuff your boss says is SO overwhelmingly stupid, that it's funny. And because being someone who is fighting back against harassment and bullies is stressful, I wanted to give you something to help you laugh a bit. I'm generally a serious guy, but sometimes you just need to laugh, you know? So, I hope this can put a smile on your face and give you the brief mental break that you need and deserve. So here's the list of 32 dumb things managers say included. 1. "Am I the only one around here with half a brain?!" 2. "I know my plan won't work, but don't disagree with me in front of others." 3. "I only say those things to look tough. I'm reshaping my image for advancement." 4. "I tried to e-mail you to tell you that my e-mail wasn't working, … [Read more...]

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Video: Here’s the Only Way to Stop a Bully Boss from Giving a Bad Reference

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Is your bully boss keeping you under his or her thumb by giving you bad references, so that you can't escape?  Or have you escaped the abusive boss, only to find he is still trying to ruin your life by giving you bad references? Here is the one and only way to force the boss to stop sticking their mean words into your hopes and plans to move on.  It's simple, and I event give you a letter template to use.  Just watch the video (which gets right to the point).   If your story sounds at all similar, be sure to get my FREE "7-Secrets of Work Law" e-mail course. Learn how to fight back against a bully boss. Primary Email   Your email will never be shared, sold or revealed. If you need all the help you can get right NOW, then get my book, Work Laws … [Read more...]

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Why You Should Not Give Up if the EEOC Turns Down Your Hostile Work Environment Claim

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Schools Tackle Teacher-on-Teacher Bullying In the Workplace USA Today features an interesting article about how 41 states have anti-bullying statutes for students, but zero states have anti-bullying statutes that apply to the teachers or administrators. That's starting to change, however, with two school districts -- one in Iowa and one in California -- for the first time ever explicitly prohibiting teacher to teacher bullying. This collateral bullying is a huge topic in itself. But what's troubling to me is that the article does NOT specifically state that the new rules prohibit school administration from bullying teachers. It's an otherwise interesting article, and you can read it HERE. When an EEOC Investigator Turns You Down, You Can Still Prevail I recently advised an … [Read more...]

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To Your Resounding Success in 2010

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After receiving a huge response to the following email, I decided to share it with everyone here on the site as well. A sneak peak into the new Employment Law Academy is at the bottom of the post. People have told me that there are more urgent problems in the world that workplace abuse, bullying bosses, and hardworking people getting fired for dumb, made up reasons. Yes, I know about the "bigger problems" these people are referring to. I know about the global warming and the slave trade and the earthquakes and tsunamis and Osama Bin Laden. I know about cancer and birth defects and the bloody 20th century and the pollution in China and the prostitution rings in Bangkok. … [Read more...]

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The Abusive Boss Who Got Sued For “Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress”

Have you felt emotional distress at work because of the abusive way your boss treats you? Many of the people who contact me for help in dealing with a bully boss feel this way, and they want to sue their boss in court for all the workplace abuse he or she has inflicted. When someone like this tells me they want to sue, the first thing they say is that their boss caused “a hostile work environment.” (If you still think you can sue for a hostile work environment, you need to sign up for my 7 Free Work Law Secrets Email Course). The second thing people want to sue for is “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” This also rarely works, and I don't advise pursuing it, but... ...but a women named Gina Strong in Washington State recently has some success suing her boss for negligent … [Read more...]

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Can Your Abusive Boss’s Unattainable Goals for You Actually be Discrimination Against You?

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A performance improvement plan (or "PIP") is not discriminatory by itself.  But scores of employees who have bought "Work Laws Exposed" and utilized their free phone consultation with me have described feeling like their boss was trying to "get back at them" by setting astronomically high goals at the employees next appraisal or in a PIP. One female employee told me how she used FMLA leave to take her autistic son to a series of therapy sessions; soon after returning to work her boss placed her on a PIP and assigned her completely unattainable goals that she had to meet "or face termination"; One older male employee told me how he noticed that his boss, a first time supervisor, was driving out all the employees who were also older and more experienced; when the employee told HR that the … [Read more...]

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Faking Disability? And, Lawsuit Caused by Abusive Boss

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You decide if this police chief was faking his disability: Former police chief for city was no longer disabled, and thus, he was not entitled to continue receiving not-on-duty disability pension. While former chief could not work as ordinary police officer because of injury to left knee, his disability did not prevent him from functioning as a supervising law enforcement officer in an administrative position within the police department. A videotape of the former chief performing as rodeo clown showed him running, jumping, climbing fences, dancing, running from bulls, leaping on top of and off barrels, climbing into and carrying barrels,and being rammed by bull while crouched inside a barrel. Rhoads v. Board of Trustees of City of Calumet City Policemen's Pension Fund, 810 N.E.2d 573 … [Read more...]

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Meeting “Efficiencies”

One reader of Undercover Lawyer contributed the following piece based on his own experiences at a large employer in Southern California.  Our guest writer, Brian, followed the advice in "Work Laws Exposed" and filed claims with California 's DFEH.  He has now retained a California attorney to further fight back against the Hostile Work Environment he had to live through.  Here are Brian's insights: MEETING "EFFICIENCIES" Every now and then a company needs to “meet efficiencies”, which also means to get rid of employees for whatever reason; (over budget, employee complains, don’t like, asks for training, wants a raise, etc). How the game works: A manager is usually asked to lunch by his/her supervisor. During lunch the supervisor will inform the manager that the company has a problem and … [Read more...]