What is necessary to prove a hostile work enviornment?

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What is necessary to prove a hostile work enviornment?

I was recently terminated about a week ago. My manager stated, “She felt that I was not a good fit with the company”. During my employment my manager’s conduct has been very hostile toward me, which I feel lead to my termination. During my progress reports my manager stated false claims against me, which I do have proof of and a witness of her conduct toward me.

Asked on July 20, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What do you mean by a "hostile work environment"? The problem is, there is *no* law against a work environment being hostile generally, or about a manager being hostile to a particular employee--the employer is allowed to be an awful place to work, or is allowed to simply make your life miserable. Similarly, if you don't have an employment contract protecting your employment, you are an employee at will and may be disciplined, fired, etc. at any time for any reason.

What an employer can't do is the following:

1) It can't harass or discriminate against you specifically because of your membership in a protected category: e.g. you can't be discriminated against because of your race, your religion, your sex, a disability, or being over age 40.

2) It can't publically (to any other people, including coworkers) make untrue factual statements which damage your reputation--such may be defamation, and you may be able to sue on them. Note, however, that opinions, no matter how negative, are not defamation, so saying that someone is not a good fit with a company, for example--which is an opinion--is perfectly legal.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

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