If one of my subordinate managers who has a grudge against an older employee is a constant harassment to the employee, and has gone to the point to making the employee nervous enough not to look at my subordinate manager in the face. My subordinate manager has continued to chew the employee ordering him to look at him in the eye and 'be a man' attacking his character and is making untrue statements as to why the employee is performing badly. Would my company be open to a hostile work environment suit as the employee has called out subsequently and it is affecting his work?
2 Answers from Attorneys
A hostile work environment can constitute a form of age discrimination under both state and federal law.
It is not possible to evaluate the employee's potential claim against the employer here. The employee would have to show that the environment is hostile because of his or her age, and not because of some other reason. For instance, if the subordinate managers' grudge has nothing to do with the employee's age, then the age discrimination claim would fail. On the other hand, many employers do not want to tolerate a hostile work environment for any reason. This sounds like an issue for your human resources department to deal with as soon as possible.
If the older worker sues, as he seems to have grounds for, feel free to contact me f serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts.