A Note from a Workplace Harassment Attorney
Something we hear a lot at Gold Star Law is clients experiencing workplace harassment. Workplace harassment is defined as any unwelcome conduct based upon a protected status such as race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, and genetic information. The most common type of workplace harassment that our employment lawyers hear of here at Gold Star Law is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is any unwanted interaction based on sexual advances or comments.
Some of what seems like workplace harassment is only a form of bullying, which unfortunately is not always actionable or illegal. Workplace bullying becomes actionable when you can show that it is based on race, religion, or any other protected status. Examples of illegal workplace harassment could include racial slurs, bullying about a person’s skin tone, insulting a coworker’s religious beliefs, men be treated better because they are men, women being treated better because they are women, regular inappropriate sexist comments, repeated requests for sexual favors, or offensive comments about gender, racial, or religious stereotypes.
One of the biggest misconceptions in employment law is the difference between illegal harassment and non-discriminatory workplace bullying. Unfortunately, bullying is usually not unlawful, although some acts of bullying that go far enough may be illegal in themselves, such as assault or battery, even if they are not based on a protected status. If the bullying behavior does not rise to the level of being actionable due strictly to its severity (such as a battery case), an employment law attorney must then look at the intent behind the bullying to see whether the bullying was based on a discriminatory reason.
In order for you to have a claim for workplace harassment, your employer needs to be made aware of the situation. This awareness can come from a complaint that an employee makes or can be because the employer witnesses the harassment or was the actual person doing the harassing.
Our workplace harassment lawyers at Gold Star Law are here for you if you think you are experiencing any kind of harassment in your workplace. Remember, employers are, by law, not allowed to retaliate against an employee for reporting any sort of workplace harassment or sexual harassment. If you believe you are experiencing workplace harassment or sexual harassment, ask for help from a Michigan law firm, contact Gold Star Law’s workplace harassment lawyers!