When you arrive at your workplace, you should feel secure in knowing that you are entering a professional and safe environment. This is why it is disappointing, and especially unacceptable, when you are made to feel uncomfortable or threatened in a hostile work environment. Read on to discover what is considered a hostile environment and how a seasoned New York employee rights lawyer at Bell Law Group can help you in the event that you are harassed at your job.
By New York law, what is considered a hostile work environment?
According to New York law, a hostile work environment is considered to be one where discriminatory harassment takes place. Notably, such discriminatory harassment is prohibited under the following laws:
- Federal laws: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
- State laws: New York State Human Rights Laws.
- Local laws: New York City’s Human Rights Laws.
Specifically, such discriminatory harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Offensive jokes or slurs.
- Offensive epithets or name-calling.
- Displays of offensive objects or pictures.
- Physical threats, assaults, or intimidation.
And on top of this, types of sexual harassment that create a hostile environment include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Sexually suggestive remarks.
- Sexually proactive objects or pictures.
- Unwanted advances.
- Unwanted touching, pinching, or leering.
You must keep in mind that in order for your workplace to be considered a hostile work environment, such discriminatory harassment must occur consistently. For example, one incident of offensive joking might not constitute a hostile work environment, but repeated offensive joking will.
However, you can be made a victim of a hostile work environment even if you are not the target of the discriminatory harassment but just have witnessed it.
What should I do if I am in a hostile work environment?
If you have been made a victim of discriminatory harassment in a hostile work environment, then you must do everything in your power to fight for justice. The most comprehensive approach toward achieving this is to, first, report the discriminatory harassment to either your company’s Human Resources department or your manager. If the discriminatory harassment continues, then you must seek legal representation. The same goes if this discriminatory harassment is coming from your manager.
It is important that you take the proper steps, or else your employer may have an argument against you to avoid liability. That is, they can claim that you failed to report the situation and that they took reasonable action considering the circumstances. With all that being said, it is in your best interest to retain the services of one of the competent New York employment lawyers as soon as you can.