What Constitutes a Hostile Work Environment in New York?

employee sitting alone

Given that you spend most of your time in your workplace, you should feel nothing less than comfortable there. So it is unfortunate when you instead deal with an environment of hostility. In a situation like this, you must speak out to give yourself and your fellow coworkers the experience that you deserve. Follow along to find out what constitutes a hostile work environment and how a proficient New York employee rights lawyer at Bell Law Group can help you address this hostility.

What constitutes a hostile work environment in New York State?

By federal and New York State law, a hostile work environment is one in which discriminatory harassment occurs. Such discriminatory harassment may be conducted by an employer, a supervisor, a coworker, and even a third party (i.e., a vendor, independent contractor, client, customer, etc). And to fully constitute a hostile work environment, such discriminatory harassment must happen repeatedly, rather than as an isolated incident.

Without further ado, examples of scenarios that may constitute a hostile work environment in New York State are as follows:

  • An employer repeatedly makes vulgar comments about your sex or race.
  • A supervisor repeatedly screams at you or aggressively touches you which results in injury or damages.
  • A coworker repeatedly targets you for jokes or pranks which result in public humiliation.
  • A vendor repeatedly makes unwanted sexual advances toward you.
  • A client repeatedly calls you offensive names or threatens you with physical violence.

How can I address this hostility?

You must take matters into your own hands when addressing the hostility that an individual is creating in your workplace. First, you may approach this by speaking with the individual directly and expressing your concerns.

But if you believe it is dangerous to confront the individual, or if the individual is otherwise unwilling to cooperate, then you may turn to your supervisor and your workplace’s Human Resources department. This may require you to fill out and file an official incident report; you must save a copy of this.

You may also submit supplemental evidence that points to the occurrence of your incident. This may include photos and videos of the incident and your subsequent injuries and damages, along with testimony from colleagues who witnessed the incident.

And if your workplace ultimately fails to take proper actions to rectify the situation, then you may consider pursuing legal action. What’s more, a lawsuit is especially in order if you were wrongfully punished or terminated for speaking out on this hostility.

It should go without saying that you should also file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days from the date on which your incident occurred. So there is no time like the present when it comes to reporting your hostile work environment. Reach out to a talented New York employee rights lawyer from Bell Law Group today.

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