It is possible to be successful at your job without having an especially friendly relationship with your coworkers, but if the people you interact with at work on a daily basis go out of their way to be unpleasant to you, not only can it make it harder to do your work tasks successfully, but it can also put you in a bad mood that lasts even after the workday ends. Being routinely mistreated on a personal level at work can have a negative effect on your quality of life and even on your physical health. When it happens at school, they call it bullying, but in the workplace, it is called a hostile work environment, and it is against the law. Employment discrimination laws make it illegal for supervisors and colleagues to torment an employee, especially if they are doing it to get back at the employee for engaging in a legally protected activity or if the harassment is motivated by the employee’s race, religion, or some other protected characteristic. The New York City hostile work environment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP can help you if your coworkers are subjecting you to harassment and bullying at work.
Is it Against the Law in New York City for Your Boss to be a Jerk?
A charming and friendly personality is not a prerequisite for every job. You do not have to be a social butterfly to be good at fixing cars, analyzing data, or performing the essential duties of many other jobs. You might have even had a teacher who was great at teaching, despite being socially awkward or having an intimidating personality. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect at work. If the people in a work environment single out one person or a group of people for harassment, the employees who are being targeted by the harassment have the right to complain about it and seek remedies. If your coworkers are being so cruel or aggressive toward you that it is interfering with your ability to do your job, then it is a hostile work environment. If you are experiencing harassment at work, contact the New York City hostile work environment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP.
What Constitutes a Hostile Work Environment in New York City?
If you are trying to do your job in the midst of a hostile work environment, it is obvious to you that it is hostile. What is it about the workplace or the people in it that makes it so bad? From your perspective, everything. When you are filing a complaint about workplace harassment, these are some things you can cite to strengthen your claim:
- Coworkers or work supervisors calling you by insulting nicknames or racial slurs or making derogatory comments about you
- Coworkers making offensive jokes or comments about a protected characteristic of yours or a group to which you belong (such as your race, gender, religion, or family status)
- Work supervisors giving you incomplete or contradictory instructions that seem intended to set you up for failure, and then blaming you for the outcome
- Unwanted sexual advances or flirtation from coworkers or supervisors
- Threats of physical violence or threatening to damage your reputation or career
- Unwanted touching
- Physical violence
When the harassment is based on a protected characteristic of yours, then hostile work environment is a form of employment discrimination, and you can remedy it by filing an employment discrimination complain with the help of a New York City employment discrimination lawyer.
If the harassment is your work supervisor’s way of getting back at you and making your life miserable after you engage in a protected activity, the hostile work environment is a form of employer retaliation. The following are examples of protected activities:
- Reporting a workplace safety violation to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim in connection to an accidental injury that happened at work or an occupational disease
- Filing a complaint about employment discrimination
- Requesting an accommodation for a disability
- Applying for a family leave or medical leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Filing a whistleblower claim
- Participating in an investigation into misconduct, discrimination, or illegal activities at your workplace
What to Do if You Experience a Hostile Work Environment in NYC
From a legal perspective, your rights are the same if you have experienced discrimination or retaliation in the form of a hostile work environment as if the discrimination or retaliation had taken the form of some other kind of adverse action, such denial of a promotion or termination of employment. In the case of discrimination, you cannot sue your employer unless you have completed the preliminary investigation process. In most parts of the country, the only place to bring your discrimination complaint is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC also operates in New York City, but it is only one of three agencies to which employees can bring their discrimination complaints. The other two are the New York Division of Human Rights and the New York Commission on Human Rights. The deadline for filing your initial complaint with any of these agencies is 45 days after the discriminatory action (such as harassment) happened. The agencies will investigate your complaint, and after the agencies give you the go-ahead, you can file a lawsuit against your employer in court.
You do not have to wait until your case gets to the lawsuit phase before you hire a lawyer. If you are experiencing a hostile work environment, it is not too soon to contact a New York City hostile work environment lawyer. Your lawyer can help guide you through the process of exercising your right to a harassment-free workplace.
Contact HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP About Hostile Work Environment in New York City
The employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP can help you if you are experiencing harassment from your work supervisors or coworkers. Contact the employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in New York, New York to set up a consultation.