How should I proceed regarding a hostile work environment?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How should I proceed regarding a hostile work environment?

The owner of the company has been very abusive, both mentally and emotionally for over a year now. It has now grown into physical violence. Almost on a daily basis he smashes things around the warehouse, with no acknowledgment for the safety of any workers around him. He has threatened to take a gun out, thrown up his fists multiple

times, and has thrown objects deliberately in the direction of myself, and other

management. I no longer feel it is a safe work environment, and fear for my safety, as well as the safety of other employees. I am unaware of how to handle this situation and would really appreciate some advice.

Asked on January 2, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A "hostile" workplace is one that prevents an employee from doing their job duties reasonably. In other words, a supervisor or co-worker, either by behavior or actions, creates an environment that is counterproductive to a worker performing their work duties. However, these behaviors must typically be "discriminatory" in nature and are not just a result of rude or unprofessional behavior. This means the unfavorable work conditions must be due to some form of legally actionable discrimination. In other words, an employer's mistreatment would have to do with an employee's race, religion, age (over 40), disability, national origin or the like. And such does not appear to be the case here from what you have written. Accordingly, you have no claim here for a hostile work enviornment. Probably the best thing for you to do at this point is to look for a new job, as this employer seems to be highly irrational and violent. 

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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