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I need help with a potential hostile work environment. I have complained multiple times but nothing is done.

Houston, TX |

This is a state employer. A current employee has made sexual remarks in presence but they were not directed at me. Also the employee has been yelling at me multiple times and even thrown things in the office. He was irate and everyone in the office heard and few witnessed it. I have spoken with my supervisor and nothing has been done. I have spoken with HR and still nothing has been done. My supervisor said just to pretend it never happened and I just cant do that. I am and a female and the other employee is a male and I am afraid to be left alone in the office with him. please help

Attorney Answers 4


  1. You are not supposed to work in a hostile work environment. If your supervisor has done nothing about it, you need to report it to human resources or to a higher supervisor and ask that the hostile environment end and that you are left alone to do your job. If that does not work you should file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or contact an attorney. It is against he law to retaiate against you for filing an EEO complaint.

    This is not intended to be legal advice, but is only for general information. Cantact an attorney in your area for legal advice.


  2. Your factual summary does not necessarily describe a situation of "hostile work environment" as that term of art is defined in the law. Your employer may be correct in concluding that no employer action is compelled by the law at this point in time on these facts. The gender differential by itself does not entitle you to protections on the facts that you have reported. Yelling and acting out are not actionable unless you are in physical danger by a reasonable standard (not established in what you described here). Undefined "sexual remarks" also do not necessarily create obligations by your employer toward you if the remarks were not addressed to you and were not recurrent or repeated. In all events, even attorneys who participate on internet Q and A's will not likely conclude that remarks are unlawful and create legal obligations without knowing the content and circumstances of the complained of remarks.

    I think you are at some risk of over-estimating your rights and leverage and centrality in this workplace situation. That is not uncommon but it can boomerang for you. It would be sound for you to consult with a local skilled and experienced employment attorney to step through the specific facts of your situation and provide you with reliable fact-specific advice and instruction.

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.


  3. Recommend you consult with a TX employment attorney BEFORE you take any further steps in the workplace to handle the matter yourself. Its very possible that no laws have been broken and despite your obvious unhappiness, there may be nothing you can do but find job with better coworkers--if that turns out to be the case, you want to ensure you transition on your own terms, at the time of your choosing, instead of being fired by your current employer. Your best way to navigate through the process starts with a review of ALL the facts and circumstances with an employment attorney in your state. Best of luck to you.

    NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. DO NOT RELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY IN THIS FORUM. Legal advice comes after a complete review of the facts and relevant documents and an expressed (written) agreement of representation that forms attorney-client confidentiality. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this or any other matter.


  4. You may want to consult with an attorney. Specifically, if you by chance objected to the sexual comments made towards a co-worker by the harasser, or if you served as a witness to another person's sexual harassment complaint, and if the company now is (or will be) retaliating against you in any way (your facts don't mention whether you've suffered retaliation, i.e. a paycut, demotion, etc...), then you may have a legitimate case. Without knowing more facts, it is difficult to analyze your case, as currently presented.

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