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How do i go about filing a hostile work environment claim ?

Carlsbad, CA |

i was wrongly accused of being suspicious with money..stayed two hours un paid to prove i had done nothing of the sort.. not only that the doctor had no proof..he just felt i was "shady". not only that hes verbally abusive and throws things at me.

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Attorney answers 4


"Hostile work environment" is a term with a special meaning in the law of employment discrimination. It arose out of sex discrimination cases, and refers to a work environment so permeated with catcalls, cheesecake posters, sexually charged horsing around, etc., as to completely alter the conditions of employment depending upon what gender you belong to.

Similarly, a racially "hostile work environment" refers to a racially charged atmosphere, where the terms and conditions of employment are different depending upon what race you belong to.

The term "hostile work environment" has nothing to do with work situations where someone you work for is verbally abusive in a way that doesn't target your membership in a protected class (race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, creed, color, religion, etc.). A boss who calls an employee an idiot or dumbhead or other things that are not nice has shown that he's a jerk, but has not violated the anti-discrimination laws. (However, if the boss calls employees by offensive racial or ethnic or anti-religious or sexual names, however, that may well violate the law.)

Most people think the law protects them from a supervisor who doesn't like them and behaves towards them in an emotionally hostile manner. It's just not so. Unless the supervisor's or co-worker's behavior is so extreme and outrageous as to be intolerable in a civilized society, or unless reflects a pattern of ongoing animus against members of a particular gender, race, nationality, religion or the like, it's unlikely to be legally actionable.

You say the doctor throws things at you. An intentional harmful or offensive contact based on something someone throws at someone else may provide a civil cause of action for battery. But it makes a difference whether it's a bucket of rotting food garbage or just a wadded up piece of paper. If it's the former, there may be a battery claim. If it's the latter, it's a trifle upon which a claim shouldn't be brought.

I wouldn't work for someone who threw things at me. Maybe you want to find another job.

Not legal advice as I don't practice law in California. It's simply my analysis of the facts you present in light of general principles of law. If you need legal advice, please consult a lawyer who holds California licensure.

Good luck.


It does not sound like you have a claim. Hostile work environment harassment is where speech or conduct is "severe or pervasive" enough to create a hostile or abusive work environment. It is primarily a legal term describing a workplace situation where an employee cannot reasonably perform his or her work due to certain behaviors by management or co-workers that are deemed hostile.

It is important to note that a hostile work environment case comprises more than a boss being rude, yelling, or annoying. It is very specific especially when an employee is suing an employer for either wrongful termination or for creating an environment that causes severe stress to the employee.

A hostile work environment generally does not create a legal action unless it is a form of discrimination. Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based on race, color, religion, sex (whether or not of a sexual nature and including same-gender harassment and gender identity harassment), national origin, age (40 and over), mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or retaliation constitutes harassment when the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment, or a supervisor's harassing conduct results in a tangible change in an employee's employment status or benefits (e.g., demotion, termination, failure to promote).

A hostile work environment might also be actionable as a breach of contract if it violates company policy or goes so far that it amounts to an unsafe working condition. But absent some other basis, generally you cannot sue your boss or company for being hostile toward you because you are a member of a protected class.


As my colleagues have explained, you have no viable claim.

If this information has been helpful, please indicate by clicking the up icon. Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Candiano is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Links:


You could try a written complaint that you feel your health and safety is endangered if the hostile work environment contains threats on your life or safety. It would be unlawful to fire you for making a written complaint of a health and safety issue.

Other than that, the previous posts explain the legal definition of hostile work environment well.