Thursday, August 09, 2012

Harassed at Work in Maryland? Here are a few things to consider.

Not all harassment is legally actionable.  "Harassment" in the common sense of the work can range from perceived slights to outright physical abuse.  While you may being treated unfairly, there may no legal avenues for relief.  It is in the nature of the word "harassment" that it can describe varying levels of conduct.

But some workplace harassment is actionable.  You should contact an attorney for help when you believe you are being subject to any sort of conduct that approaches anywhere near the level of actionable harassment.  

Harassment based on a protected category, like age, race, gender, etc., may be actionable.  The EEOC defines such actionable harassment as: 

Unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive."

Certain severe harassment may also make you eligible for an immediate peace or protective order from the District Court of Maryland or a Commissioner.

If you are facing harassment (even the non-actionable type), should you quit?  I have previously discussed this exact question.   Your decision has legal implications (as an example, quitting could have an affect on your eligibility for unemployment benefits).  Your decision has life implications. You should consult the people you trust (an possibly consult counsel).  The answer is that there is no easy answer.  

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