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Your Options in an Abusive Workplace

Employers can be a lot like boyfriends or girlfriends. Sometimes you get it right from the start, and sometimes you get it all wrong and don't realize it until too late. So what can you do when you end up working somewhere that's a hostile or abusive workplace? The answer depends on if the problem is with the corporate culture or with one person, and how large your employer is.

In small companies, typically those with fewer than 15 employees, you'll have fewer options. That's because many federal employee protections don't apply to these companies. These companies are also often too small to have an HR department, so if you have a problem, you'll likely have to talk to the office manager or accountant, if not the CEO or founder. In these cases, you can likely solve a problem with one employee, but not with a hostile work environment.

When you work in a larger company, you can use the HR department to deal with complaints. If your concern is with one other employee, first talk to your supervisor, and work your way up if your concern is not handled promptly. Keep detailed records of your encounters with the person who is harassing or abusing you and have anyone who witnesses these encounters write down their statement as well. Keep these records at home or keep copies at home.

If you are an employee with a protected status and the bullying or harassment centers around that status, you have additional protection under the ADA or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. You can make a complaint of discrimination with the EEOC for either of these problems.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.

Our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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