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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    9

    Default Harassment, Verbal Abuse, Hostile Work Environment

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Florida

    Could please someone answer the following? Thank in advance!

    I was subject to verbal abuse by two female employees of different race than mine, and I am a different nation of origin than them - (time period -one month before I reported them to my supervisor).
    I was called names every other day (stupid, smelly, crazy), and was told "I hate you" by one of them.
    I also heard a male employee making a comment how he would like me in his group just for sex. I told this to my supervisor, but harassment by other than those female employees increased tremendously especially when one of the females that verbally abused me told a male acquaintance of the same race that I reported her.

    After that I was called slut, whore, and followed by one of his acquaintances during the lunch time.
    At the same time, I was also being trained for a more complex task unlike those two females who harassed me, and whose work I was given to correct often.

    At that time of my training by a male coworker, I heard people behind me talk about me and my nation of origin in negative terms which I would not repeat here, but also called names - "a s..t", stupid, "turd" by a couple of employees as well as I was told "I hate you" and "liar" by a employee who pass by my cubicle when she was telling me this. Other employees would also ask why is she is being trained? , why she is getting a phone? (a part of training would be through a conference call), what are her qualifications?, (I have a degree which others two females do not possess, and was told my female supervisor and her boss that I am doing a better job and that is why I am getting trained for a more complex task). There was also a possibility of getting a promotion.
    The harassment by other employees other that those two reported to the supervisor especially males continued, and they would often comment how I am a s..t, comment about my body, - one of the employees that I saw him follow me - would describe what I was doing during my lunch and say sexual profanities about me. It got to the point - that gossip that I can hear in my background and slender ( I was ashamed to go to lunch within the campus of the organization), that I would lost my concentration, get panic attacks, and finally I had to quit the job because I could not stand it anymore especially when five individuals met me in a hallway and called me "w..re" and one female just outside the building "a s..t" after a male employee who followed me and telling sexul jokes as well as stories, lies about me was told to stop by a female employee. The supervisor was quiet and nice to two female employees that started all of this being afraid of their race card, but cold toward me. I know names just of those two females that I reported my supervisor, my supervisor's name and her boss name. I suspect that he knows about this. Other individuals’ names that harassed me I do not know.

    What are my legal rights? Whom to report this - EEOC or contact a lawyer?
    My temporary agency is investigating the case. How to get the names of other witnesses?
    I was shortly employed there, but I have consequences and I am in counseling - panic attacks, and possible PTSD as told by my counselor.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9,096

    Default Re: Harassment, Verbal Abuse, Hostile Work Environment

    It is always better to hold onto the job but I would still contact the EEOC and see what will happen.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Harassment, Verbal Abuse, Hostile Work Environment

    Thanks for the time to read my post and for your answer!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,235

    Default Re: Harassment, Verbal Abuse, Hostile Work Environment

    The first thing the EEOC will ask you is what efforts you have made to resolve this within the company.

    So, have you reported any of this to HR?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    9

    Unhappy Re: Harassment, Verbal Abuse, Hostile Work Environment

    I am worker of a temp agency who is investigating this, but after I quit then reported this to the agency, which does not help me any BECAUSE I was told that I should have reported this before quitting to have a written record of the abuse for possible court – I will have to wait to see.

    I reported to my supervisor (not the agency) at the workplace that I was being harassed, but nothing happened - harassment intensified by acquaintances of the one of the females that started abuse. I do not think that company I was doing work for will give names of any witnesses, and I am afraid that without witnesses in court I do not have a case. I can tell names of those of my two managers - supervisor and her boss - but I am afraid that they will not tell the truth not even under the oath to protect themselves and to be loyal to their company - same with EEOC - I think they will not favorably testify to EEOC. I was afraid to report this to my agency during my employment with the organization that I blame for harassment because of the experience with the previous agency which did not anything when I reported much less malevolent issue. I am afraid that I will not have closure to this issue and that I will continue to suffer from anxiety. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR RESPONSE - PLEASE ADVISE WHAT TO DO?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lake Chapala
    Posts
    2,987

    Default Re: Harassment, Verbal Abuse, Hostile Work Environment

    Report it to the agency. If nothing is done, report it to the EEOC.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Harassment, Verbal Abuse, Hostile Work Environment

    You appear to have a complex case involving allegations of multi-faceted harassment and retaliation. I would recommend that you contact a local employment attorney promptly. Once you meet with him or her, the two of you should make plans to file with the EEOC or the state or local Fair Employment Practices (“FEP”) agency.

    If you do not retain counsel quickly, you should contact the EEOC or FEP yourself. You have a very short limitations period in which to file your administrative harassment and retaliation charge. (I THINK you only have 300 days from the last act of discrimination to file your charge. But, for numerous reasons, you do want to avoid waiting to the 11th hour to file. I would suggest you file your administrative charge within the first 150 day window just to better insure you do not have limitations problem.)

    As you look for counsel and plan to file an administrative charge, you should consider endeavoring to write down an account or a summary of every incident of harassment or retaliation you can recall. The more details you can recall will enhance the prospect of your ultimately prevailing on your harassment and retaliation claims.

    Finally, the fact you resigned from the job does not necessarily affect your case adversely. Frequent ethnically motivated epithets or sexually charged comments could very well render a jobsite so toxic as to fully warrant a “constructive discharge” claim. If your evidence supports a constructive discharge claim, your former employer could remain liable for, inter alia, your lost wages even though you resigned from your position. The test remains whether the offensive conduct made the workplace so intolerable that a reasonable person would feel compelled to resign under such circumstances. As with the other aspects of your potential case, you need to discuss the potentiality of pleading constructive discharge with your counsel.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    9

    Post Re: Harassment, Verbal Abuse, Hostile Work Environment

    Thank you very much ESteele! I appreciate the information.
    I talked to a pro bono lawyer today. I wish I knew this info.
    The lawyer told me that I cannot get even to the court pleading harassment and hostile work enviroment because I did not report the abusers during my employment with the company were I worked as a temp despite the fact that I am still employed with the temporary agency and I reported harrassers to the temp agency after quitting. The will not take the case unless they have 100% chance of winning, and that they need witnesses names and reports as well as all harasssers' names, which the company obviously trying to protect itself will not volunteer to my agency. I did report as you can see some incidents to my immediate supervisor in the company where was my immediate employment and harassment exploded after that. The lawyer did not even mention of helping me with filling with the EEOC. It seems that I have to do that myself. I will probably have to talk to another lawayer about helping me file with EEOC and about "constructive discharge." Still,
    money is the issue because some lawyers charge initial fee, and depending on the case either they ask for a retainer, fixed fee per hour, or sometimes contingency fee upon recovery. THANKS AGAIN FOR READING MY CASE AND PROVIDING SUCH A LONG AND INSIGHTFUL ANSWER! I TRULLY APPRECIATE IT.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Harassment, Verbal Abuse, Hostile Work Environment

    You are welcome. I wanted to comment on a few points raised in your updated post.

    First, you are right to seek a “second opinion.” Obviously, I do not know the lawyer you met with. I do not want to cast aspersions directly or indirectly on him or her. Indeed, he or she may very well be brilliant, hard working and sincere. However, he or she may also be wrong.

    One attorney’s opinion is not necessarily the sole objective assessment of a set of operative facts. Consult with an experienced employment law attorney. (In this instance, “pro bono” only means he or she did not charge you. It does not necessarily mean he or she has the requisite knowledge in this area of the law to interpret your circumstances adequately.) You should use the internet, the yellow pages, the local bar association and any other resource you can to find referrals for alternate counsel.

    Second, in my opinion, your reporting the harassment to the on-site supervisor imposed an affirmative obligation on the company to investigate your complaint. By failing to take action to stop the harassment after your report, this company could potentially be liable for its employees’ abuse. In contrast, you probably do not have a cause of action against your temporary agency since the agency was contemporaneously aware of the harassment you were receiving in the work place.

    Finally, you will have to take on the lion’s share of the responsibility for pulling your potential case together in the initial stages. To this end, it is critical you summarize what happened to you as if you were a researcher or reporter detailing the critical facts. Emphasize the facts. De-emphasize the emotions. (This is not to diminish how you were mistreated or how you are injured psychologically. These emotions, however, will not help you present an accurate picture of what occurred here.)

    As you reflect on what transpired, you will need to write down all of the pertinent information you can recall, e.g., the names of the harassers; the names of the other employees who witnessed the harassment; the names of the supervisors who received your complaints; descriptions of the acts of harassment or retaliation (including, inter alia, dates and times).

    Once you compile this information in a chronological and cogent fashion, you will be in much better position to communicate with counsel the central details of your case. You want to explain to your prospective counsel the “Who, What, Where, Why and How” of your situation.

    Clarity will not guarantee you success. But, it will undoubtedly enhance your prospects of effectively pursuing a remedy here.

    Again, I hope you obtain justice here and otherwise wish you well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Harassment, Verbal Abuse, Hostile Work Environment

    Thank you sooo much! I cannot thank you enough!

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