Ann is being bullied and harassed at work. She has reported it to her managers multiple times and nothing has been done. This time, HR was contacted and involved. This has been an ongoing problem.

Bob, who harasses Ann, works right next to her. He made a comment and Ann told Bob to "mind his own business." Bob went to his manager and told on Ann. Ann went to HR.

The next day, Ann gets a documentation for leaving work to go to HR. She was told she is not allowed to go to HR under any circumstances by her boss. She also was written up for not speaking nicely to Bob, when Bob is the one who said something first. Ann never speaks to Bob. This was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Is this legal? Can a manager tell an employee who is working in a hostile work environment that she will get in trouble for the complaint they filed?

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    Yes it is legal. Police are not going to take action here. Is that really the question you want to ask? If so this should be on law.stackexchange.com. – paparazzo Oct 6 '18 at 12:58
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    This is in New York. I didnt know if this was some kind of retaliation. – Turner Oct 6 '18 at 13:04
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    Is i t really legal to BLOCK someone from reporting a case to HR under ALL circumstances? I would bypass boss and escalate this one fact FAST. – TomTom Oct 6 '18 at 15:17
  • Sounds like they want her to leave – eckes Oct 6 '18 at 16:17
  • I'm confused by "She was told she is not aloud to go to HR under any circumstances by her boss". Was the door open during her meeting with HR and did someone overhear it? – Belle Oct 8 '18 at 8:30

Anne should consult with a lawyer and start documenting everything

If she sues them and the behavior of the company is found to be creating a hostile work environment, they may face damages. There are other possible legal outcomes depending on the exact circumstances of what has happened, what her management does moving forward and what she and Bob do moving forward. The best advice at this point is to contact a local employment attorney and get a consultation - she may be able to nip this in the bud by meeting face to face with HR or with a strongly worded letter from an attorney to HR, but if that's not possible the attorney should give her a set of actions to take to get the best outcome for her. The bottom line is that you shouldn't take the advice of random people on the internet for personal legal issues and should hire an attorney that you can confide the entire situation in, who is familiar with the local jursidiction's relevant laws.

Anne should also ensure that she starts documenting everything - what Bob said to her, what his intention appeared to be (was he hitting on her? Bullying her?) and what she responded with. If her manager reprimands her, ask for it in writing, and if the manager refuses she can again write in her own words what happened in her personal documentation.

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Can a manager tell an employee who is working in a hostile work environment get in trouble for the complaint they filed.

A manager can say anything they want, it's just extra evidence. In this case this evidence should go to HR as well. If it's in writing it gives excellent proof in a dispute that the environment is toxic exacerbated by the manager purposefully trying to block complaints and cover up, rather than fix problems. She could also ask HR for time off as she doesn't feel safe in this threatening environment, that would add quite a bit to her argument.

She needs to be careful, since she has contacted HR she has already burnt some bridges. Contacting HR again sets the whole waterfront on fire.

HR should take this seriously it could potentially be taken outside and impact badly on the company.

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