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Discrimination Question - California

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  • Discrimination Question - California

    I work for a large corporation, my team is 10 members. This week each one of us was called in to the HR manager’s office and read the company discrimination policy and each was required to sign that the policy was understood. The HR manager wouldn’t look directly at me as he read the policy and said to me at the end ‘don’t let it happen again’. I left feeling guilty of side murmuring and conversations about a co-worker who calls in sick 3 – 4 days a week, but have no idea what may have ‘happened’. A few of my team mates said similar things, he wouldn't look them in the eye while he read the document and made them sign.
    Our team has one member who has been playing a cat and mouse game with the company for a very long time. This person has been tracked for several years for poor or nonperformance. I know this because I have been tasked with tracking the statistics since 2010, doing this person’s neglected work or passing it out to others and reporting the information to our manager. It appears to several of us that today’s policy lesson originated from a complaint from this team member, about one, some, or all of the rest of the team. I feel this complaint could be another part of the game she is playing with the company to avoid a firing and since I do the tracking (and some grumbling) may have been specifically aimed at me.
    The problem is, most of my team mates have stopped speaking to this employee altogether, me included. This person has pretty much become socially ostracized when at work and has brought this situation on herself. No one responds to her when she asks for back up by email for leave requests. I end up picking up her call backs myself when she calls in sick as no one else will touch them and the customer needs to be responded to timely.
    I guess my question is, does an entire team of 10 not speaking to or interacting with one person constitute a hostile work environment for that one person? Or would a complaint of harassment need to be more specific to cause HR to take an action like happened this week?

  • #2
    The term, hostile work environment, has a very specific meaning in employment law and what you and your co-workers are doing to this employee does not meet the definition. It's childish and demeaning, but it's not an HWE. So no, I don't think that the HR manager reading each of you the policy on discrimination has anything to do with you all (including the employee in question) behaving like a bunch of eight year olds.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-ho...nvironment.htm
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

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