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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default The Owner's Wife is Verbally Abusive

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

    Everything I have read about hostile work environments in MA says that unless it is sexual or in some way discriminatory that the the employees at the company I work for have to just suck it up and deal with it. The owner's wife (which i believe may be a co-owner) verbally assaults employees within the company on a daily basis, she cuts them down constantly and reduces them to tears. Very few employees have actually stood up to this woman and told her off, but for the last three days she has been especially brutal towards one employee and for things that this woman does not have any control or dealings with. She needs her job but the constant berating and verbal attacking is making her increasingly depressed and even possibly suicidal. I have told this woman to walk out and to tell the owner (whom is well aware his wife acts this way) that she is contacting an attorney because of the constant verbal assaults. What rights does she have as an employee to protect her against this woman's constant attack?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: What Rights As an Employee Do I Have to Protect Myself Against Verbal Assault

    If you are asking what legal protection she has to walk out or lash back out and still keep her job, the answer is none - not in MA or any other state, either. A hostile work environment means the same thing in MA that it does in the other 49 states - if it is not based in a characteristic protected by law, then it is not an HWE and does not offer any kind of job protection. She is free to complain to HR but if it is not illegal harassment as defined above, then HR is not obligated to take any action. I'm not saying they won't - just because they're not legally obligated to doesn't mean they aren't going to do anything at all. But neither HR nor upper management has a legal obligation to make her treat everyone nicely or to fire her or to transfer your friend or to take any action at all UNLESS it is legitimately an HWE as defined by law. She is free to quit but she may or may not get unemployment and she will not have legal recourse. She is free to look for another job and quit when she finds one.

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