Hostile Work Environment And Diminished Job Performance

A hostile work environment is a workplace that is hostile, abusive, and intimidating.  Federal laws prohibit workplace harassment that is based on an employee’s race, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability. 

In Amirmokri v. Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., 60 F3d 1126 (4th. Cir. 1995), based on evidence that Amirmokri was called names including “the ayatollah,” “the local terrorist,” and “camel jockey,” the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the case to go to trial on the issue of hostile environment harassment.  The Court focused on evidence that Amirmokri’s supervisor had intentionally embarrassed him by assigning him impossible tasks and telling co-workers that he was incompetent, which may have negatively affected both his performance and its evaluation.

Working in a hostile work environment can result in diminished job performance.  In Weiss v. United States, 595 F.Supp. 1050 (1984), a Virginia federal court stated, “…an employer cannot use an employee’s diminished work performance as a legitimate basis for removal where the diminution is the direct result of the employer’s discriminatory behavior.”

Bryan A. Chapman, Esquire

One thought on “Hostile Work Environment And Diminished Job Performance

  1. I am a 43 year old female working in a hostile working environment. My boss is a screamer. He’s been screaming at me for years not because I’ve done anything to deserve it, but rather to blow off steam. He has felt comfortable venting to me because we were friends and we have sat alone in a room 2 feet from each other. 14 months ago he separated from his wife and filed for divorce. His moods became more severe than ever. One day he was in a particularly foul mood and was visibly stewing in his chair. He looked at me and randomly threatened to damage my career. I blew it off because typically this sort of thing blows over. But, the next day he came in and started screaming that I was late, even though I was 10 minutes early. I tried to direct his attention to the clock but he was too busy screaming at me to notice.

    I went above his head and filed a formal complaint. Since then he has made consistent effort to force me out of my job. He has had me crawl around all the offices in my clinic looking for keys that I had not lost, he has buried me in collateral duties intended for junior staff and writes complaints to HRO that I’m not completing tasks on time. He has tried several times to write me up for random things without the benefit of a verbal warning, and holds me to impossible standards that no one else is held to, these are a few of hundreds of cruel and demeaning acts of retribution.

    I have tried filing an EEOC complaint but was told my situation doesn’t fit into the 4 categories. I have a union representative that doesn’t return calls or emails, a chain of command that turns a blind eye and an HRO department that has made a collaborative effort to do nothing.

    I’ve done a lot of research and have realized there is nothing illegal about targeting someone and abusing them as long as your careful in operating outside the EEOC categories.

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