Your Boss Doesn't Like You: Could It Be Harassment?
As an employee, you have the right to a workplace environment that is free from discrimination, unfair labor practices and harassment. Even if your boss doesn't like you, he does not have the right to treat you unfairly, impose demands that are outside the scope of your job description or engage in practices that violate your employee rights.
An employer cannot impose consequences or punishment toward an employee for participating in an activity that is legally protected. For example, your employer cannot reduce your salary, demote you, discipline or shift job assignments just because he does not like you. If you have not broken company policies or engaged in illegal activity outside of work, any type of retaliation violates your rights as an employee and affords you the right to seek legal action against the employer.
Right to Time Off Work
It is likely that an employee may need to request time off work periodically. Just because a boss is not fond of you personally, he cannot violate your employee rights by unjustly denying owed vacation time or personal leave. It is against the law to punish an employee for taking time off for family leave, jury duty or disability leave. The Family Medical Leave Act mandates that larger employees provide employees up to 12 weeks of leave each year to care for a new child. An employer who is in violation of denying time off work for legally covered reasons can be subject to fines or lawsuits.
Harassment in the workplace occurs in many forms. Employers in violation of harassment laws often discriminate and pose punishment based on age, race, gender and sexual orientation. By law, employees must be given fair opportunities without regard to disabilities, pregnancy status, gender, age and race, as protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Even if your employer does not like your personality or personal choices, it does not give him the right to limit your opportunities or demote, fire, or shift your schedules or positions. In fact, any unwelcome conduct that is based on an employee's religion, sex, national origin, disability or age is unlawful.
The issue of cyber-related punishments in the workplace has gained momentum in recent years. Employers often screen applicants by observing online behavior and social media accounts. Many companies have posed limitations or guidelines for what employees can post online. These guidelines should be clearly posted at the workplace and included in the employee manual. An employer cannot legally cyber stalk or harass an employee online. Cyber harassment involves sending threatening email messages, instant messages or creating blogs or websites with the intent to torment another individual or employee.