I work as a federal employee, and I am a veteran with documented PTSD.
Several of my fellow workers find it amusing to intentionally do things to cause me to become angry, such as saying things like: “I’m just waiting for him to snap”. This has gone on for years, and has been reported multiple times to supervisors. Recently I was placed on administrative leave while awaiting the results of an investigation where one of those employees is alleging assault or fear of violence.
Do I have a case for harassment? The other employees have admitted that making me angry is amusing to them and they find it “funny”. Any help or advice is appreciated.
Ann Kiernan replies:
First of all, let me thank you for your service to our country. In my view, your co-workers’ behavior is reprehensible harassment, and should be stopped immediately. Not only are you a veteran, but you also have a disability, both of which are protected characteristics under the discrimination and harassment laws. You may want to read the EEOC’s materials on Veterans With Service-Connected Disabilities In The Workplace And The Americans With Disabilities Act for information and links to legal and employment resources for veterans.
But violence or threats in response to harassment is never appropriate. If your complaints to supervisors have not been handled properly, you should go to your agency’s EEO Counselor and file formal charges. Or you may want to consult an employment attorney with experience handling federal sector cases. Good luck.
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