Can I get damages for harassment at work?

UPDATED: May 28, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: May 28, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I get damages for harassment at work?

I’ve been threatened with termination because I asked the 2nd manager questions and he said that he doesn’t like me to stop and ask him how to do stuff or this won’t work out. He’s stung me with towels after I told him to stop, he made fun of my height, and an makes me feel stupid all the time. I’ve said something to both the first manager and the regional manager and nothing has been done; they say it’s just him and they have told him everything that I have said, so there is tension and now I’m back on meds. I dread going to work now due to all of this. I’ve now been thrown in a job with no training by myself when usually 2 people help. Is this harassment?

Asked on May 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The key issue is *why* are you being harassed at work. If you're being harassed on the basis of some protected characteristic--for example, your race, religion, sex, disability, or age over 40--that would be illegal, and you have a legal claim and be entitled to damages. This means that the harassment must be because of the characteristic: for example, as explained more below, a 50-year old African American disabled woman can be harassed as work, so long as she is not harassed because she is 50, African American, a woman, or disabled.

On the other hand, if your manager simply doesn't like you, won't provide you the support that you need, etc., that is not generally actionable. The law does not require managers to be fair, reasonable, courteous, professional, etc.--they can "harass" employees at will, so long as that harassment is not specifically based upon some protected characteristic of the employee.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption