NOW TOWN HALL IS CLOSED TO CITIZENS. ALTHOUGH IT IS AN AREA WITH LIMITED ACCESS TO CITIZENS, YOU CAN’T GET THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR AND HAVE TO RING A DOORBELL AND MAYBE SOMEONE WILL COME OUT. OTHERWISE YOU JUST HAVE TO DROP MESSAGES THROUGH THE SLOT.
Is Hostility in the Eye of the Beholder?
The phrase “hostile work environment” may appear to be one that could be open to a lot of interpretation. That is, what’s “hostile” behavior to one person may be no big deal to another.
However, the law is much more specific when defining a hostile work environment.
Yelling, screaming, engaging in loud rants—taken by themselves, these things alone are not unlawful.
Where Managers like Vanessa may cross the line into unlawful territory is when their outbursts meet three criteria:
- Their targets fall into various “protected categories,” such as women, older people or especially those physically or mentally challenged, people of certain races or national origins, etc.
- Their behavior is so extreme that it changes the terms and conditions of a person’s, or a group of people’s, employment.
- The employee or employees including citizens have complained about the situation, but nothing was done, like in the case of the Fire Department.
Let’s examine each of these criteria in more detail.
A Pattern of Discrimination
The first point boils down to this: The behavior has to have a discriminatory element to it.
The law prohibits discrimination based on certain “protected classes.” That includes color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (people age 40 or older), disability, or genetic information. This includes discriminating against Joe Griffin by not allowing him his public records requests and calling him out at a meeting, crawling over a table as to attack him, etc.
Unbearable Working Conditions
The second point requires that working conditions are negatively affected by the behavior.
This, too, has specific criteria attached. A hostile work environment isn’t a matter of simply working under unpleasant conditions. Rather, the behavior has to be so severe and pervasive that it interferes with an employee’s ability to do his or her work, or it prevents the person from moving ahead in his or her career.
An isolated incident of bad behavior is generally not enough to prove a hostile work environment. Rather, there usually needs to be evidence of repeated incidents, as well as the consequences.
Vanessa made Beverly Brazil’s working conditions so hostile requiring specific things from her not requested from others including micromanagement so that Mrs. Brazil could take no more of this attitude and left. Of course, Vanessa didn’t like Mrs. Brazil because she is White and not Black and Mrs. Brazil had more knowledge than Vanessa. Vanessa needs people working under her that do not threaten her…meaning dumber than she is and then she brought Audre’ on board..
Complaints Fell on Deaf Ears
Finally, the law spells out that employees must give employers a chance to correct the situation before they can proceed with a lawsuit.
Unfortunately, some companies may fail to address worker complaints, preferring instead to sweep difficult situations under the rug rather than confront a senior employee. That is something Vanessa does well. Look at what she has done to the volunteers of the Fire Department. She pretends she doesn’t have to do a thing for them, never took care of Tom Brazil’s Workers