Hostile work environment

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Hostile work environment

One employee has targeted most on our team run to HR to falsely complain about things that never happen. HR always counsels the employee she’s complained about, even when we deny it happened nothing is done about her ongoing harassment. Last week it was announced that I was promoted to supervisor, she has escalated her harassment of me in front of other employees who have reported this to HR. I’m considering filing a complaint for harassment because I’m not able to do my job under these circumstances. What are my options?

Asked on June 22, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You don't have any rights or options unless the harassment of you is aimed at you due to your race, color, national origin, age 40 or over, disability, sex, or religion (i.e. just that you are minority or over 40 and are being harassed, but that you are being harassed *because* you are a minority or over 40). Unless you are being harassed due to one of these few, specifically protected categories or characteristics, there is no protection: you may be harassed at work but for these reasons, and your employer may allow or condone it. (This is all part of "employement at will"--the idea is, you don't have a right to a good work environment; you have the right to seek other employment is you are unhappy.)

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.

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