Hostile Work Environment Lawyers
As an employee in New York City, you know that your work environment has everything to do with your performance. If you work in a hostile or toxic work environment, you won’t perform as well. In that case, you may need the guidance and advice of hostile work environment lawyers.
What is a Hostile Work Environment?
A hostile work environment is the kind of work environment that prevents employees from performing their duties. The toxic environment can be created through employee harassment, targeting a particular aspect of the employee or group of employees. As a result, it is almost impossible for such employees to perform their duties. Examples of such elements include:
- Sexual orientation
- Any other legally protected characteristic
Who Creates a Hostile Work Environment?
Contrary to popular belief, anyone in the workplace can create a hostile work environment. These include managers, coworkers, repeat clients, supervisors, contractors, visitors, etc. However, it is also important to note that while many of these incidents create a hostile work environment, some may not rise to the level of being considered illegal.
For instance, if your supervisor genuinely and occasionally criticizes your performance, this does not count as a hostile environment. However, suppose the supervisor constantly mistreats you at work due to your race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or protected characteristics mentioned above. In that case, this could create a hostile work environment.
Hostile Work Environment Case Illustration
Hostile environment lawsuits are quite common in the United States. For example, ex-Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes sued Bravo and Andy Cohen for allegedly creating a toxic and racist work environment during her seven seasons on the show.
From the above example, it is clear that creating a hostile work environment could land an employer in a lawsuit. To further understand this aspect, let’s discuss different rights and protections workers in New York City have against hostile work environments.
Worker Rights and Protections Against Hostile Work Environments in New York City
In New York City, workers are protected by federal, state, and city laws against hostile work environments. At the federal level, the following laws prohibit hostile work environments:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
At the state level, the New York State Human Rights Laws ban hostile work environments.
Further down at the city level, New York City’s Human Rights Laws do not tolerate the creation of a hostile work environment. So whether you live in New York City or anywhere else in New York, you deserve to work in an environment free from hostility. And if your employer, colleague, or any other party violates this rule, you may be able to take legal action against them.
How to Prove Hostile Work Environment
Once you have decided to take legal action against the hostile party, you will need some form of proof to validate your claim. Here’s how to go about it.
Document the Hostility
Think about the specific hostile conditions and document them. For example, does your employer make mean comments about your religion, race, age, or other protected characteristics? If so, note their exact comments. Remember also to document when the incident occurred, precisely the date, time, and location.
Did anyone else witness the hostile work environment? Remember to ask them specifically about what they saw if possible. When you file a complaint against the hostile party, investigators might need to reach out to the witnesses to validate your claim. In addition, their statements can help strengthen your case against the employer.
Keep Doing a Good Job
The primary goal of maintaining good performance is to ensure that you do not give the other party a chance to blame you for their hostility. For example, if you constantly refuse to show up to work, they could blame your poor attendance record for their reaction. This does not necessarily mean that poor performance or attendance justifies the creation of a hostile work environment. You just don’t want to give them a reason to blame you for their actions. Instead, keep executing your daily duties and responsibilities as required.
Document Performance Reports and Feedback
As mentioned earlier, the hostile party will most likely try to blame you for their hostility. Documenting your performance reports, including client reviews and feedback, could help prove them wrong.
Even if their conduct was not repeated, the other party could be found liable. However, it’s also important to note that repeated conduct will definitely build a stronger case against the hostile individual and your employer.
Hostile Work Environment Claims Process in New York City
In New York City, you have up to three years from the date of the last incident that created a hostile work environment to file a claim, although your time to take action may be less depending on your employer.
Although you may have up to three years to file a claim, it is always advisable to file as soon as possible to preserve evidence. In addition, it is easier to track witnesses and have them provide their statements when you file a complaint immediately than when you wait.
Although you can file a complaint with a government agency directly on their website, it is always advisable to speak with experienced hostile work environment lawyers. A good attorney will evaluate your case and provide you with the crucial legal advice you need to pursue your claim.
They’ll also walk you through the process of filing a complaint against your employer. If you choose this path, you will not have to worry about complex paperwork, ever-changing laws, missed deadlines, and all the stress that comes with fighting for your rights without legal assistance.
How to Choose the Best Hostile Work Environment Lawyer for Your Claim
Since the issue of the hostile work environment is still common not only in New York but the entire country, you will most likely come across many hostile work environment lawyers claiming to be the best in this area of employment law. However, not every lawyer or law firm you encounter is worth working with., you’ll need to ask them the following questions:
- How long have they been practicing employment law in New York City?
- How familiar are they with hostile work environment laws in New York City?
- Have they handled similar cases before?
- If you decide to hire them, who will work on your case? Will they outsource your case to another law firm or attorney?
- How often should you expect updates about your case?
These questions could help you decide which lawyer or law firm to work with.
How R&M Can Help With Hour Hostile Work Environment Claim
When looking for the best hostile work environment lawyers in New York City, you want to work with the best. At Ricotta & Marks P.C., employment law is all we do. We are not one of those law firms with a one-size-fits-all approach to these types of cases. Instead, we focus on employment law to provide our clients with the best legal representation possible.
Our lawyers have a combined experience spanning more than 35 years. So when you decide to work with us, you won’t have to worry about your case being used as an experiment. We take hostile work environment claims seriously because we’ve dealt with countless individuals whose lives have been torn apart by hostility in their workplaces.
If you or your loved one has experienced this kind of hostility, you need to hold the other party responsible for their actions. This brave decision will save tens, hundreds, or even thousands of other employees from the same hostility in the workplace.
Get in touch with us today at 347-960-4383 to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation case evaluation. We serve clients in Queens, Long Island and throughout New York City.