Do I have to work with someone who I feel harassed me?

I dated a guy from work. Oops. Now he calls me “bitch” and throws things near me, but not at me. When I brought this to my managers’ attention, they said I didn’t have to work with him anymore. Now, a few weeks later, they’re scheduling us at the same time and ignoring my requests for shift changes. Is that legal? Is what my ex is doing considered harassment?

Posted 05-27-2015

Ann Kiernan replies:

This certainly sounds like abusive conduct, and may well be sexual harassment. Unlawful harassment has 4 elements:

  1. Discriminatory or sexual behavior that is
  2. Unwelcome and
  3. Severe enough to interfere with work and
  4. The employer knew (or should have known) about but failed to take effective corrective action.

Obviously, just because you broke up with someone is no reason for him to call you nasty names or to throw things, which could create a safety problem at work, even if he doesn’t hit anybody. I suggest that you go to corporate HR or to your managers’ boss and report the continuing harassment. If the company refuses to do anything to help you, you might want to contact a local employment lawyer about taking formal action. Good luck.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.