It’s interesting that you ask that, because I get a lot of questions on that.
Generally speaking, a hostile work environment is not unlawful, under Florida law or Federal law. So if your boss is harassing you verbally, calling you names, embarrassing you in front of your co-workers or your clients, throwing a notebook in your general direction, or just being abusive, unfortunately, that’s not unlawful under the law.
When it becomes unlawful, is when it’s tied to a protected category under the law, such as your race, your national origin, your age, gender, [or] disability (if you have one).
Generally speaking, a hostile work environment is not unlawful…
So in other words, if you have a racially charged workplace because of comments by the boss, that are repeated (not just an isolated incident) and that are sufficiently severe and pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of your workplace, then you have an actionable hostile work environment.
You have a duty to complain to the owner and/or boss, to give them an opportunity to stop it. But if they don’t stop it, that’s a client for unlawful hostile work environment.
John Bolanovich is an Orlando commercial litigation and employment law attorney with Bogin, Munns & Munns, a full service law firm with offices in Orlando, Clermont, Cocoa, Kissimmee, Orange City, Daytona Beach, Ocala, Melbourne, Gainesville, Titusville, St. Cloud, The Villages, and Leesburg. He welcomes questions and comments regarding the above and can be reached at [email protected].
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