I was out of work for three weeks due to a surgery I had on my foot. When I returned one of the managers started mocking me about how my foot doesn’t work anymore and doing a motion with his leg in which he dragged his leg across the floor as if it was limp. I in no way looked similar to what he was doing but still was offended by this and asked him to stop. He of course didn’t stop and this is now a regular thing. He thinks that it is funny to do this among other things including talking about how he has intercourse with my mother in detail in front of everyone (he has never met my mother) and makes fun of me by saying that I am Jewish and telling me anti-Semitic jokes. I obviously don’t find any of this as funny. I tell him every time that I see him that I don’t like him saying those kinds of things. I am not okay with him telling others about why I was gone from work and the way that he did it. In what way would you proceed in this situation?
Rita Risser Chai replies:
This sounds illegal! It appears to be harassment on the basis of religion, sexual harassment, and possibly harassment related to FMLA leave if you took FMLA. The limping might also violate your state’s law. (It’s likely not harassment on the basis of disability since you are not permanently disabled. But limping to mock someone with a permanent disability would also be disability harassment.)
Before you do anything, it would be good to get evidence so it’s not your word against his. You could pull out your phone, turn on your video and tell him, “I am recording this.” You’re not trying to hide it—do it openly. Either he will stop, which is what you want, or he’ll keep doing it, and then you have your evidence.
Then I would recommend that you contact an attorney. You should be able to find one that would give an initial consultation at no charge. You also can complain to your HR department, if there is one, or to the CEO or COO of the company. However, if you complain it’s possible you could be illegally retaliated against, which is why it might be best to talk to an attorney first. You also could file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state’s fair employment department.
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