What legally constitutes a hostile workplace?

UPDATED: Jun 30, 2015

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What legally constitutes a hostile workplace?

I had no choice but to quit a job I had deep passion for. A new supervisor had fired about 3/4 of the experienced staff in our specialized area of mechanics, and for over 1 1.2 years myself and others had written complaints of his bullying (and incompetence in our specialized field). The company/owners ignored the problems. Then, about 2 weeks ago, he approached me and demanded I support him in lying about my former supervisor. I refused and told him he was wrong – things were not better or safer since he was there. I pointed a few things out. He got madder and things escalated. At least 1 other employee went and hid. I wanted to hit him but quit instead. Now no UI?

Asked on June 30, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, unfortunately, no UI.

There is a common misconception that a workplace may not be hostile. That is not true. A workplace may not be hostile against an employee specifically because of that employee's protected characteristic, the main ones of which are race, sex, age over 40, religion, and disability. The workplace may be hostile--even incredibly, stupidly, psychotically hostile and toxic--for any other  reason, and a supervisor may be a bully, an incompetent, etc. The law simply does not guaranty respect, dignity, or decency in the workplace.

That being the case, because you quit--even if for a very understandable reason--you cannot get unemployment insurance, because unemployment insurance is not available when an employee chooses to separate from employment.

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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