Harrasment in the work place

I was hired by the city in Feb 2002 in a specialized feild in which i have 18 years of expereince for a better quality of life 300 miles from my hometown. After my probationary period in which i received an above average evaluation my foreman started a series of verbal assaults.It was also stated that i should have never been due to my age (45 at the time) Other incidents including physical poking of the ribs, lifting outriggers on a bucket truck in which i was working with overhead electrical lines, threats of physical assault and various other forms of harrassment including being told of my lack of physical strength on a near daily basis. I was also held out of training seminars that pertain to my feild and assigned other duties during these scheduled periods. I reported this to H.R.with a witness approx. 2 years ago and the problem ceased for about a month then started backup again. My next evaluation was somewhat sckewed in reference to another employee whom i work with as a team daily by about 30%. On Dec 13 2004 i met with my interim supervisor, current supervisor and mananging P.E. with 6 pages of notarized documentation of all accurences from the last 2 and half years. After the meeting i was told to clear out my locker and report to another division to take on responsibilities that i am not trained in and a change of work schedule that includes nights and weekends. I am currently seeking employment elsewhere and am moving my family elsewhere in the state in fear of retaliation. I am also forced to break a lease in which i will be responsible for the balance and moving expenses. In November 2002 i sought medical treatment for panic attacks and am currently taking medication prescibed by my Physician for same. I have many witnesses to verify this and more. The city has a written policy and reccurret traing to keep this kind of behavior from happening and the responsibility of other employees to report such. Another employee gave his notice Jan 4 2005 for the same reasons and i gave my notice last week. I also have e-mails from H.R. and supervisors to support all of the above.
Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Ralph

1 answer  |  asked Jan 17, 2005 2:33 PM [EST]  |  applies to Florida

Answers (1)

Donna Ballman
Harassment law in Florida

General harassment is not illegal. The boss is allowed to be a jerk. Harassment because of the employees race, sex, age, religion, national origin, color (essentially, shade), pregnancy, disability, marital status, or, sometimes, sexual orientation, is illegal. It must be so severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of employment. Single or occasional comments and actions are usually not considered harassment. If the employer has a harassment/ discrimination policy, the employee must report it and give the employer the opportunity to correct it before the employer is liable, unless the harassment results in a firing, demotion, or other tangible action.

You should look to see if you are in some protected category. If your supervisor made racist or sexist jokes, said they thought you were too old or your disability made you unable to do the job, required you to work on religious holidays, or made other comments that would indicate a bias, you may have direct evidence of discrimination.

If you dont have direct evidence of discrimination, you may be able demonstrate you were treated differently than those of a different race, sex, religion, national origin, age, or other protected status under the same circumstances. Try to think of people who are of a different race/age/sex, etc. and were treated differently from you. Find out if there are people who have also been the victims of similar discrimination.

If you were retaliated against after you took some protected action, you may be able to sue for retaliation. Think about whether you recently made a workers compensation claim, performed jury duty, served in the military, took family/medical leave, served as a witness in a lawsuit, provided testimony or evidence to EEOC, refused to participate in illegal activity, reported illegal activity, or engaged in protected free speech.

If you believe something illegal has happened, contact an attorney to discuss the possibility that you may have a case.

posted by Donna Ballman  |  Feb 15, 2005 4:41 PM [EST]

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