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Hostile Work Environment Definition

Has Your Bully Boss Said Anything This Stupid?


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...]


Attacking a Bullying Victim, Again: Phoebe Prince

Phoebe Prince

A lawyer who is defending one of the bullies that drove high schooler Phoebe Prince to suicide just published an article in the online magazine Slate. The outrage comes from the slant of the article, which "reports" as objective news that Phoebe brought the bullying upon herself. She's painted as being a "self-mutilating misfit bent on suicide." The apparent purpose of the article is only too obvious to people who have been the victims of workplace bullying; the purportedly objective investigator makes the bully appear less awful by heaping blame on the victim. How many people have complained to HR of a "hostile work environment", only to be called in to HR and disciplined for poor performance while nothing happens to the bully? This happens so often it's sickening. But this attorney … [Read more...]


Jury Awards $250 Million for Gender Discrimination and Hostile Work Environment


In the largest ever gender discrimination/hostile work environment verdict, a jury ordered the pharmaceutical company Novartis to pay a class of women $250 million in punitive damages, plus back pay, front pay, and attorney fees to be determined later. "A jury that found Novartis discriminated against women by paying them less than men, promoting fewer of them and allowing a hostile workplace awarded $250 million in punitive damages on Wednesday." (Full article HERE). One district manager was said to have forced female employees to look at pornographic images, and even gone so far as to instruct women subordinates to sit on his lap. With another large class action pending against Wal-Mart that makes similar allegations of unequal pay, many are wondering if this is the start of a legal … [Read more...]


Desperate Housewife Sues Abusive Boss For Hostile Work Environment

She's Suing Her Boss

Former "Desperate Housewives" star Nicollette Sheridan filed a lawsuit against the show's producer, Marc Cherry. Sheridan's suit accuses Cherry of “creating a hostile work environment on the set and behaving aggressively and abusively toward the cast and the writers." She claims that her character was killed off in retaliation for resisting his abuse, and she seeks $20 million in compensation. Three Hostile Bosses Ordered to Pay $185,000 to Two Employees Who Fought Back In Georgia, the former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones and three other people were ordered to pay two former employees $185,000. The former employees alleges that Jones created a hostile work environment based on race within the County’s Parks and Recreation Department. The trial was closely watched because Jones is … [Read more...]


Gradual Workplace Harassment Is Not Legal Harassment


You complain to your manager or to H.R., and what do they tell you?  There's no evidence that you are putting up with an illegal hostile work environment.  But you are having trouble sleeping, you feel sick when you think about work, and even though you try not to you spend most of your time worrying about work, you think about little else. How can your boss or H.R. excuse this?  How can they possibly claim that nothing is going on? Acme Markets said that Gloria Nieves was just complaining about good old fashioned teasing among co-workers.  Some of it may have been insensitive, but Acme claimed that no one thing that happened to Gloria at the deli where she worked amounted to illegal harassment.  But Gloria knew differently.  She took Acme to court, where the court said even when single … [Read more...]


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


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...]


Faking Disability? And, Lawsuit Caused by Abusive Boss


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...]


Employees File Complaints, Employers Pay


Janitor's EEOC Complaint Ends With Order to Pay $350,000 A nursing home company, Skilled Healthcare Group, must pay a class of Hispanic employees it discriminated against $450,000 "and provide significant remedial relief [because they] were subject to harassment, different terms and conditions of employment, promotion, compensation, and treatment."  The EEOC ordered the company to pay Hispanic employees because the employees had been forbidden from speaking Spanish at work, BUT, other ethnic groups were allowed to speak their own native (non-English) language while working for Silled Healthcare.  Because the compnay treated employees differently with respect to their national origin, the EEOC had filed suit against the company in Federal Court in California, alleging discrimination in … [Read more...]


I’m Being Harassed at Work! What Can I Do?


By Jenn S. Illegal harassment in the workplace is no joke. Workplace harassment involves unwelcome and offensive conduct that is based on race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), religion, disability, or age (age 40 or older). Many states also have other protected classes so it is important to be familiar with your own state’s discrimination laws. Some examples of harassment include offensive or derogatory jokes, racial or ethnic slurs, pressure for dates or sexual favors, unwelcome comments about a person's religion or religious garments, or offensive cartoons or pictures, to name a few. Keep in mind, however, that not all workplace harassment is illegal. Discrimination laws generally do not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not … [Read more...]


Hostile Workplace Podcast #5: “I Don’t Know What FMLA Is, But I’m Sure YOU Don’t Qualify For It”

Download PDF Transcript Have you heard a supervisor admit they don't know about something with one breath, but then proceed to tell you what you should do about that thing in their next breath?  Listen to one of my readers, Vicki, tell her story dealing with that exact scenario. Once Vicki used FMLA, others at her work wanted to use FMLA leave too.  This angered her supervisors, who launched a campaign to "get" her. Listen to Podcast Episode #5 now to hear how Vicki has fared against her company's attack (and don't expect a nicey nice happy ending). You can listen to Podcast #5 through the player here on Or, if you have iTunes you can click on the link below to listen there and subscribe to the podcast for … [Read more...]