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What You Can (Can’t) Do About a Harassing Boss!

One of the most common types of inquiries I receive is from people who claim they’re victims of workplace harassment instigated by a boss, supervisor or co-worker. Their most common question is if they can put an end to the harassment and recover money damages from the harasser.

Unfortunately, the situations that afford a harassed employee a right to threaten or take legal action against a harasser are legally limited.  

Workplace harassment occurs in many forms. Some of the most common types occur because the employee is targeted by his boss or supervisor because of his or her sex, sexual identity, race, age, national origin or disability. 

Federal and State anti-discrimination laws afford the best available legal means available to employees to oppose a boss’s harassment and arbitrary treatment. These laws provide a means by which employees can challenge and recover money damages for a supervisor’s harassment and/or discrimination when it can be attributed to such reasons as the employee’s age, race, sex, national origin, or disability. 

Attorney fees are also recoverable by a successful employee in cases brought under the anti-discrimination laws. Several other statutes, such the Whistleblowers Protection Act, equal pay laws and pregnancy anti-discrimination laws also provide a right to sue for damages and attorney fees to employees who find themselves in situations covered by those laws. Additionally, an employer’s own work rules or employee manual may guarantee a grievance or arbitration remedy for an employee complaining of harassment. In fact, where one’s employment is governed by a union contract, the contract or union work rules often specify a grievance remedy for some types of work place harassment.

Unfortunately, there’s no legal or contractual remedy, beyond the voluntary intervention of a sympathetic boss, available to employees victimized by the most common forms of workplace harassment. For example, many harassment occurrences result from the acts of ill-tempered supervisors, personality conflicts between employees and supervisors or personal animosity toward a subordinate.  Even though the effects of this type of harassment can be detrimental to an employee’s job performance, assignments, evaluations, and compensation, the employee has little, if any, legal avenue to oppose the harassment and the harasser. In such situations, the employer generally has the upper hand and is most likely to prevail in if a dispute arises.    

Hire an Employment Attorney in Ann Arbor 

Can you do anything about someone harassing you at work? Talk to an experienced employment attorney in Ann Arbor today at Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. about your concerns. If someone is harassing you at work, at the very least you should know your rights

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