What can I do about a hostile and discriminatory workplace?

UPDATED: Dec 16, 2011

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What can I do about a hostile and discriminatory workplace?

I have a co-worker, who is in a position of authority. He is constantly singling me out to the point where he falsely accused me of fraud (but then tried to cover it up and telling me not to tell anyone). This is on-going and I have brought it up to our HR manager but nothing has changed. He is constantly making back handed comments about my sexuality and has even stated that he is homophobic. What do I do?

Asked on December 16, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) You do not indicate which state you are writing from. A number of states (e.g. NY, NJ, CA) make it illegal to harass or discriminate against someone in employment on the basis of their sexual orientation. (Note: federal law does not.) You should check the law of  your state (you could re-post your question here, with the state) to see if it protects against sexual-orientation-based discrimination. If it does and your company does not take appropriate action, you may have a legal claim.

2) If you have been "publically"--which includes to any coworkers; but does not include comments made only directly to your face, with no other witnesses--and falsely of fraud, that may be defamation, since that would be an untrue factual statement which damages your reputation. You may be able to sue this coworker for defamation.

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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