Hostile Work Environment: How to Protect Yourself?

By Jack Tuckner, Esq.

How do you protect yourself if you are working in a so-called hostile work environment? First thing is, identify why is it hostile? If its hostile just because your boss is a jerk, a tyrant, a mean-spirited bully, there’s no law against bullying anywhere in the United States, unfortunately. So that’s perfectly legal. But if you identify that the hostility is arising because of something about you as a woman, or a person of color, or because of your age, or your disability, or some other protected status, then it is illegal, and what do you do?

You don’t just suffer through it passively, you don’t just quit because that’s like throwing out the baby with the bath water. You must complain about it, to give your company the opportunity to rectify it. And you want to do it in writing, so that you have some proof that you’ve given your company the opportunity to fix it, and if they do fix it, terrific! And if they don’t, or if things get worse and you’re experiencing backlash because of your so-called protected complaint, that is illegal retaliation. And that will give you leverage to hold your employer accountable later on.

So, identify why you’re being treated in such a terrible, hostile manner, put it in writing, complain to your company, give them a chance to resolve it, leave a paper trail, make sure you are documenting everything, and if things are going south (getting worse) as a result of your protected complaint, and you want to chat about it with a plaintiff-side employee rights lawyer such as me, Jack Tuckner, feel free to give us a call in our New York City or Mid-Hudson Valley office and we’ll have a little discussion in total confidentiality, and free of charge to see how we may empower you to deal most effectively with your hostile work environment.