I work in a small stockroom with 3 other women for a third of my F/T week. Then we all work together in one dept. remaining time. Two weeks ago , women (1) started petty fight with me and went to Mgr and claimed I started it. Mgr then told employee in another dept. about fight claiming I started it. Since the fight, I have been ostracized by women except for negative comments about me in my presence. Requests to Mgr and Director have been unanswered. My union stepped in and requested help. Union said HR is supposed to help, Director forbade HR from helping. These women are treating me like school children and they are acting part of "mean girls". Petty but extremely unpleasant for me working alongside women treating me this way daily. Is there legally anything I can do?
I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. My comments are for information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. You should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.
The kind of hostile work environment protected by law is based on a protected basis, such as race, color, religion, sex, sexual harassment, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, mental or physical disability including HIV and AIDS, age (40 and above), equal pay, and genetic information.
Environmental harassment can include verbal conduct, slurs, derogatory comments, comments or questions about a person's body, appearance, religious, or sexual activity. Harassment can also include offensive gestures, sexually suggestive eye contact or looks, mimicking the employee in an insulting way, and derogatory or graphic posters, cartoons or drawings.
Harassment is unlawful when the conduct is either severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive environment. Severe conduct would include most physical contact and many types of threatening, vulgar or degrading conduct. Pervasive conduct is widespread, happens frequently and/or in many situations. One offensive statement is not pervasive, but the same comment made over and over again may be pervasive.
Unless there is a protected bases at issue here, your recourse is through your union. Unions are the exclusive representatives for anything related to wages, hours and terms of employment (unless there is also a statutory violation). You should ask your union to file a grievance. Note that the time limit to file a grievance may be very short, a matter of days, so don't delay in talking to your union about this.
*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***
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