I am a big believer in employee’s rights. For decades, business interests have lobbied the U.S. Congress and state legislatures for favorable terms regarding how they are allowed to treat their employees. In other words, big business has written the laws so that they can get away with shady shit then tell you to “Fuck off!”

Take, for example, COVID-19. If you are forced to work in an environment where you are exposed and then catch COVID-19, there’s not a whole lot you can do against your employers for infecting you with a potentially deadly virus.

You may be given some benefits under Worker’s Compensation Insurance, but by accepting those much-needed benefits you are waiving your rights to pursue other legal means. Furthermore, the court will require you as the employee to prove that you got the virus from work. Did you go grocery shopping last week? Oh sorry, you could have gotten COVID at the grocery and not your employer. Case dismissed.

In this form, I’m not doing the pandemic’s impacts any justice with regard to their scope and the legal impacts they have on employers and employees. If you’d like to learn more, I would encourage you to search online.

What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws

The Department of Labor also put together a small poster that addresses some of the employee safety concerns surrounding the pandemic.

I mention COVID-19 here because it offers a good illustration of how employers have unfairly stacked the deck against employee’s rights. But if the pandemic doesn’t convince you, look no further than proving a case against a “Hostile Work Environment.”

For a Hostile Work Environment claim to stand up in court, the behavior in question has to be both severe and pervasive. In gauging the behavior’s severity, the court must examine the totality of circumstances. And don’t forget to include an incident in your EEOC filing, because an undocumented event may not be admissible in court.

There are four factors that the U.S. Courts examine when evaluating claims against an employer for maintaining a hostile work environment:

  • Frequency of the discriminatory conduct
  • The severity of the conduct
  • Whether the conduct was physically threatening, or a mere offensive utterance
  • Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with an employee’s work performance

You must have all four of those conditions in order to successfully be awarded a win against a hostile employer in most cases. Your boss is a bully and says mean and unflattering statements about you? Due to the way the law is written, you likely don’t have much of a case against your hostile employer.

Again, these laws were practically written by big business for the benefit of big business. This reality is arguably the biggest reason American labor unions have risen up all across this country. If you’re a have, life is good. If you’re a have-not, screw you. Or as a manager once told me, “Fuck off!”

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in the article should constitute legal advice. Please consult with trained legal counsel to evaluate your situation. This post was published for information and inspiration purposes only.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.