Is it legal for an employer to allow an HR manager to confront an employee and harass them?

UPDATED: Feb 20, 2012

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Is it legal for an employer to allow an HR manager to confront an employee and harass them?

I was confronted by a HR manager in her office and she called me useless, unreliable, and said that I should resign or she will make sure I get fired within 2 weeks. Could I get the employer for harassment or anything? It doesn’t seem right for a manager to speak this way.

Asked on February 20, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, there is no law preventing an employer (or management or HR) from insulting or harassing on employee, or threatening to fire him or her. It is unprofessional and unfair, but not generally illegal.

The exception is that you may not be harassed due to a protected characteristic, such as, for example, your race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability. If you believe the harassment was because of one of those factors, then you may have an employment harassment/discrimination claim and should consult with an employment attorney to explore your rights and options.

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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