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Hostile Work Environment Definition

New Hostile Workplace Book Cover Reveal: How You Voted


Thank you all so very much for voting on which cover to use for the new, greatly expanded version of my book.  Without further ado, here's the winner: The book cover image that I liked best and would have chosen came in third place!  The cover that came in first place by a wide margin and won the contest was “Breaking free of shackles”, as pictured above.  Second place in the cover voting was “Stressed worker”, which is the current cover on the book and is pictured here: This surprised me too. It obviously works as a cover, since the book as sold well over time. But, it looks dated and not as professional to me. Perhaps I am just tired of looking at it? Anyway, the current cover coming in second place, and beating out my personal favorite which came in third place, shocked … [Read more...]


Do Nurses in a Hostile Work Environment Have a Duty to Second Guess the Doctor?


When a patient sues a doctor, the patient often wants to sue the nurses too. Why? Because if the patient can convince the jury that not only the doctor, but also the nurses, made a mistake then the doctor’s insurance and the hospital’s insurance are on the hook. It’s about finding as many deep-pockets as possible. Often times, the nurses didn’t make any mistakes. The nurses are supposed to follow the orders given by the doctor. And they usually do. So how can a patient and his/her lawyer sue a nurse who simply followed doctor’s orders? One of the most frequent tactics is by claiming that the nurse failed because the nurse followed the doctor’s orders. That’s right, the patient argues that the nurse should NOT have followed orders, but instead should have spoken up to stop the … [Read more...]


Is a Prison Camp Comparable to Living Through a Hostile Work Environment?


I’ve been wanting to write more, and post more regularly to this blog. Like lots of people, instead of working directly on my goal I’ve procrastinated by doing any number of different things that feel like they are related to my goal, but really aren’t. I’ve compiled lists of writing ideas, written out writing schedules, got a new writing program to use on my laptop, and the mother-of-all-time-wasters: “research.” In an effort to not waste so much time clicking from article to article on the web, I decided I would shut the laptop and go back to reading some full length books. But you got to start slow, right? Not just jump into reading dense legal reference books. So I thought it would be good to read a book about overcoming adversity, since so many of the people who visit this site are … [Read more...]


What is the Definition of a Hostile Work Environment? (PART 3 of 3)

Bully Boss Confronts Employee

Lenora's Journey Through a Hostile Workplace In two previous articles a 52 year old nurse named Lenora was harassed and abused by her new (younger) boss and former co-worker Michelle. Feeling distressed and sick, Lenora stayed home from work and called her brother in law, a corporate employment lawyer named Curt. Although he usually works on the side of the employers, he wanted to help his family member. Talking on the phone and over lunch Curt explained the difference between legal and illegal hostile work environments, and explained why the concept of "employment at will" is so crucial to fighting back against a bullying boss. Lenora wants to turn her boss Michelle into the hospital's human resources department for "unfairly" attacking Lenora at work. Curt is trying to persuade Lenora … [Read more...]


What is the Definition of a Hostile Work Environment? (PART 2 of 3)

A Bully Boss Can Turn What Was Once a Great Work Place into a Hostile Work Place

Step One to Fighting Back: Understand Employment At-Will In a previous post, a 52 year old nurse, Lenora, felt sick and distressed about the hostile work environment her new supervisor (and former co-worker) was subjecting Lenora to. The new supervisor and head nurse, Michelle, was acting like a tyrant, but only toward Lenora and not the other nurses. Feeling alone and dreading going into work, Lenora stayed home and called her brother-in-law, a corporate employment lawyer named Curt. Curt explained that an illegal hostile work environment has to be based on a protected class like race, religion, national origin, gender, disability or age. Lenora was even more despondent, because she and Michelle were both women, so Lenora doubted the law would protect her. In Lenora's mind, Michelle … [Read more...]


What Is the Definition of a Hostile Work Environment? (PART 1 of 3)

Nitpicking Boss Causes Hostile Work Environment

Question: What is the Definition of a Hostile Work Environment? Answer: There are actually two types of "Hostile Work Environments": 1) legal; and 2) illegal.  To see which you are experiencing, consider the story of Lenora. Perhaps you have experienced something like Lenora, a conscientious nurse who loved her patients and felt valued at work -- until her co-worker became her boss. Lenora worked as a nurse at a hospital in California and felt fortunate to have her job, until administration promoted Lenora's co-worker Michelle to be the new Head Nurse. Sure Michelle was a good nurse, but after her promotion Michelle dramatically changed from a pleasant if shy co-worker into an angry tyrant. Michelle raised her voice at many of the nurses, but singled Lenora out for particularly harsh … [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...]


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


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...]


New Legal Rights For Employees of Nursing Homes

New Employee Rights for Nursing Home Employees

If you work for a nursing home, convalescent hospital, hospice care facility, or any other health care facility that accepts federal funds, the Health Care Reform bill gives YOU new legal rights, too. If you or any other employee reasonably suspects that a crime (like billing fraud) has taken place at your workplace, then you must report it to at least one law enforcement agency. What happens if you don’t? Up to $200,000 in fines. Evidently nursing home managers have been leery of reporting a resident who has abused or beaten another resident. Mangers don’t want the negative publicity, and don’t want law enforcement getting involved in what he nursing home views as “a medical issue”. So, if you are employed at nursing home you must report any action by a manager or resident that you … [Read more...]


Academy Open! Free Copies of Printed Book Going Fast

Employment Law Academy Crest

Our Academy opens TODAY at Noon Pacific (2pm Central / 3pm Eastern). The first month is free with no obligation to continue. Plus, the first 500 people to sign up get a FREE copy of the $197 Deluxe Edition of Work Laws Exposed. This is the bound and printed edition, not an electronic download. If you decide to continue after the first month, the Academy is $47 per month. You have a full month, however, to try it out and decide if it's right you. The 30 Day Free trial of the Academy includes Full access to the Private Member Forum (if you're a regular at UCL, you've got to check the Academy Forum out) Full access to all 8 Courses, including the key 4 "Core Courses" that make up the UCL … [Read more...]