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A Teammate Complains That They Can't Work With Another Teammate Is Long-Term Harm

Updated: Mar 25

If a teammate complains that they can't work with another teammate because the chemistry between them is all wrong the typical managerial approach is to find positives in working together because this is a job and ultimately you have to work together. Let's face it in this scenario, working together does not extinguish past aggressions (hostility), and keeping them together could be considered long-term harm. 



According to the Law books, harassment becomes unlawful where enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment (i.e. this is a job you have to work together) or the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.  


Whatever the case may be: constant bickering and unwillingness to compromise, rudeness, intimidation, or verbal or instrumental aggression, the chemistry (conduct) between the two teammates doesn't fit. And has become so severe it's in your office. They are not a match, and keeping them together (long term) takes on the potential risk of altering either or both teammate's ability to do their job well and healthfully. 



OSHA mental health
Under the OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workers.



Under the OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workers. As the owner of the problem forcing teammates to work together may also be dubbed as a pressure approach (coercion), creating emotional distress.    

Employees experiencing emotional distress have won lawsuits documenting medical treatments, cognitive therapy, and keeping journals of stress levels. Family and friends can also be called as witnesses to provide testimony for further evidence. 



In a court case  Tuli v. Brigham & Women's Hosp., 656 F.3d 33, 44-47 (1st Cir. 2011). Upholding award of 1.6 million dollars in compensatory damages for claims raised under federal law, which has a limit of $300,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages, and Massachusetts state law, which does not have such a limit. The plaintiff could not sleep or eat and lost weight and had anxiety, anger, fear, and nervousness, which resulted in abdominal pain. The plaintiff testified that after years of hard work dedicated to her career, she was reduced to someone who could not function and could not pay her bills.



It's evident that the Law tables are turning, and employers can't continue to sweep employment matters under the mat. Employers are being held more closely accountable for employment decisions.


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