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Hostile Work Environment Definition

You Are Not Alone in Dealing with an Abusive Boss

Not AloneOne of the things I’ve tried to emphasize and acheive with is convincing people that they are not alone in their pain.  Thousands, if not millions, of people across our country suffer each day at work as they labor under an abusive and hostile boss.  Many people blame themselves.  Other victims of bullying management simply hunker down alone, unaware of how many other people share their plight.

The wide spread nature of discrimination at work snuck into a couple of headlines this week in two high profile media outlets, bringing much needed publicity to the issue of hostile work environments with particular emphasis on age discrimination.

The first article appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s “Personal Journal” section, titled More Workers Cite Age Bias After Layoffs .  The piece may be gone from WSJ’s free website soon, so click the link and read it while you still can.  The author points out that age discrimination claims…

“are at a record high, jumping 29% to 24,600 filed in the year ended Sept. 30, up from 19,103 in 2007. While overall employment discrimination complaints are also at a record high — up 15% to 95,402 complaints — the most dramatic increase was in the age-related complaints…”

One specific story cited by the article is of a woman named Joan Zawacki, who is 56 years old and a former brokerage employee at Realogy Corp.  Ms. Zawacki says that her company, like many others in the news, tried to pare down the number of employees by encouraging older workers to retire.  When that didn’t work the company, alleges Ms. Zawacki, started demoting the older workers in order to pressure them into resigning.  Ms. Zawacki is now suing her former company for $2+ million in damages.  To read the full article click HERE.

The second major media outlet that shed some much needed light on hostile work environments based on age was MSNBC’s article “Job Bias Claims Rise to Record Levels.”  The article notes that “discrimination claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission jumped 15 percent in fiscal 2008 to 95,402 — the highest level since the agency opened in 1965” according to EEOC spokesman David Grinberg.

Grinberg also noted that “It’s possible we have yet to see the full impact of the recession on discrimination charge filings as the economy continues to spiral downward since fiscal year 2008,” Grinberg said.

Grinberg’s own opinion is that discrimination cases filed with the EEOC will continue increasing and reach 100,000 this fiscal year ( which ends Oct. 1, 2009).  The MSNBC article includes some nifty graphs and charts illustrating the trends in discrimination claims.  It’s well worth the time to click through and read it.

Are the people who fight back having any success?  Just ask Tommy Morgan.  He’s the man who just had a $6 million jury verdict against his former employer, New York Life, upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Mr. Morgan had claimed age discrimination, and he won handily.  The full case, which you can print out and save, is available HERE.

So have you experienced at hostile work environment at your work?  Are layoffs coming, or even started?  What’s going to happen if enough people don’t agree to take those retirement incentives and reduce the ranks to the levels “the Street” wants to see?

Knowing your rights will help you no matter what happens at work, and many people wish they had taken time to learn about the law and the workplace before their trouble had started:

“Hey Curt, I read the book and I must’s a “LEATHAL WEAPON” for employees. I wish I would have read it before going down the path I did. Lesson learned.”  James P., Lansing MI

But don’t just learn your rights.  You can do that and gather the strength and encouragement you need to stand up to your bully boss or hostile workplace.  The Undercover Lawyer Forum is free (for a little while longer) and it’s a great way to break the isolation that so many people feel who are abused at work:

“This forum is a great place to let off steam and get support from others in the same boat. I appreciate these folks so much. Curts book is a priceless resource to have. It helps to see all that legal jargon put together in a way that makes sense to the average employee. Of course questions do still come up and when they do Curt and/or one the others on this site are here with their wisdom.”  Jill S., Concord CA

You can start learning all about your rights and get practical step by step instructions on how to fight back against age discrimination and hostile work environments with the e-Book “Work Laws Exposed”, and you can share your story and read the story of others like you at the Undercover Lawyer Forum.

Finally, be sure to bookmark this page and check back regularly in the months to come, as we brace ourselves for an increasingly difficult time for employees who need to keep working.

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  1. You are so right UnderCover Laweyer,
    The only way to end this silent crime is to vocalize it across the U.S. This is a silent crime only because we allow it to be. Fear is not talking about it but allowing it to take your life. The civil rights V11 is ours to use don’t let it keep you captive in and a silent prisoner. We can defeat this and yes there is a price but the price is heavier if we do nothing! We are American citizens and we are the people who bring this silent crime to the surface! I ask, what do you have to loose, hasn’t it already taken from you? Value yourself and demand EQR or sit in the defeated you! Praise your value even if they don’t!! This fight is only successful if we allow it. Stand up and be proud to be a citizen of the UNITED STATES and know you have rights!

  2. enoughisenough says:

    I work for a franchise, I am the General Manager there. I have a great crew. We have a corporate evaluation average of a 93%. We were recently rewarded with a 5 star honor award. The only problem we have is our Lazy Bullified “TOXIC” Owner, who thinks he can say and do anything because “he signs the checks”. He took away my bonus because he says his other two stores are not doing well and they are breaking him. When in fact my store is his highest volume store with the highest evaluation scores. I have sat and watched him lie over and over to my employees and myself promising pay raises if we do this and that for him, but still no raises. I have witnessed retaliation! I have witnessed intimidation! I have witnessed Sexual Harassment! I have witnessed unfair pay acts, and so much more that is wrong! HR won’t do anything about it because he is a franchisee. I have put my heart and soul into this mans store and now he is taking my life! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH I say! We as citizens of the U.S. must somehow make a stand against these toxic bosses! I have retained an attorney and have pointed my crew in the right directions as well!


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