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I'm getting harassed, so let's sue!

"I'm getting harassed at work, so let's sue my employer!" I hear this a lot from would-be plaintiffs. This is because many employees feel they have a right to take their employers to court over any injustice they suffer at work. The truth of the matter is that workplace harassment claims can only be brought in limited circumstances.Most notable are cases where the harassment is based on an employee's legally-recognized protected class. For example, if an employee is harassed because of his race, he may have a legal claim. But even those cases are difficult to prove. Among other things, the plaintiff in such a case must prove that the harassment was based on race; that it had the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; and that the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take remedial action. An employee's sex, religion, and disability are other examples of characteristics that can provide the basis of an harassment claim.Minor annoyances at work do not provide the legal basis for racing to the courthouse. As an MSBA-certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist, I can help determine whether conduct crosses the line from petty slight to unlawful harassment. If you have concerns at work, stop in or call us at (320) 763-3141.

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