Hostile Work Environment or Discrimination?

Asked 10 months ago - Montclair, NJ

I work in HR for a big company, going on 6 years. I have been there the longest of 3 total employees plus 1 manager. We hired a black female 2 years ago who comes to work and complains, clips coupons, and basically does nothing. Recently, me and the other employee found out that newer employee (I'll call her X) got the FedEx account linked to her personal account. She also took a screenshot of my HR information with personal info on it and emailed it to her personal email. We went to our manager and explained all this and nothing was done. X went into the managers office and says she is being harassed and that all the good vacations are being taken purposely to bully her. (BTW my manager is black)..We have told her over and over that X does nothing but she refuses to fire her. Cant take it

Attorney answers (3)

  1. William Charles Sipio

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . I would take a look at your employee handbook and go over your manager's head using the appropriate channels. There really is no legal claim here (or damages). There could be in the future, i.e. retaliation. Also keep in mind that "reverse" race discrimination is an actionable claim under federal law.

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  2. Christine C McCall

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Be careful about saying you "can't take it." You have very little power here. You do not have legal rights or powers to force your employer to fire this person. And since you have already made your complaints about her, and the employer has not fired her, it is unrealistic to expect the situation to change much in your favor.

    Inter-personal conflicts are one of the most difficult challenges faced by employers and many of them will eventually just get tired of the hassle and fire both warring employees. And that is not unlawful.

    Your post repeatedly specifies the races of the participants here and it seems that you consider that an operative dynamic in these circumstances. Based just on what you have posted here, you are probably not right about that, at least not within the framework of discrimination laws. The decisions of your manager and employer are not wrong or even suspect because of common race with the employee you do not get along with. Simply put, if we assume that your co-worker is worthless on the job and not meeting her employee obligations, that set of facts does not give you any legal options or rights. If we assume all that and further assume that your employer knows it, that set of facts, too, does not give you any legal power or options.

    If what you have posted here is the universe of relevant circumstances, your choice is to find another job or find a way to get along with her -- or find a way to cope with the chronic discord. Under the law, what you have described is not a hostile work environment or actionable discrimination.

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as... more
  3. Arthur Ross Ehrlich

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Normally I would tell you to go to HR to report the matter, but your situation is complicated given that you are already in HR. You have no ability to control whether the employee is going to be a hard worker or cut out coupons if the boss does not care about this. On the other hand, gaining access to your personal information and sending that to her personal email account is a violation of your privacy rights depending on what information was accessed. This is something that you have a right to take action on, but again it depends on what the personal information was. You should meet with an attorney in your area so he/she can explore your case more fully to see what you can do to at least protect yourself from any complaints that may get directed towards you. You may be able to force this issue with your boss, or go over the boss' head as to the taking of personal information, but you need to be very very careful about this. This is why seeing an attorney would be best before you do anything

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