Hostile Work Environment Claims
In Queens, New York
Everyone deserves to work in an environment that is free of harassment. The law guarantees you the right to take action against an employer who refuses to address a hostile work environment. As experienced hostile work environment lawyers in Queens, it is our job to enforce your rights. Ricotta & Marks, P.C., is a New York law firm dedicated to promoting employee rights in Queens and Long Island.
Queens and Long Island
Labor Employment Lawyers in Queens and Long Island
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At Ricotta & Marks, P.C., we represent employees in a broad spectrum of legal matters, including:
Wage & Hour Disputes
At Ricotta & Marks, P.C., employment law is our sole focus. We have represented teachers facing a broad spectrum of legal issues and we are committed to protecting teachers’ rights. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us and schedule a free initial and confidential consultation at our Queens or Long Island offices today.
Sometimes these “Jekyll and Hyde” switches occur because a superior learned something about a subordinate that then caused him or her to have a negative bias, like the employee was of a certain religion or sexual orientation. Sometimes the reason is more obvious, like a bias against people of a certain race, being male or female, a woman becoming pregnant or people with disabilities.
Other Employment Law Issues
New York Attorneys for Harassment at Work
The law narrowly defines a hostile work environment as one in which the hostility relates to some form of discrimination. Some examples of what the law considers to be contributing factors to a hostile work environment include:
- Racial or ethnic slurs
- Sexually explicit or demeaning comments
- Homophobic or transphobic comments
- Hateful comments about members of a certain religious group
- Mocking jokes or comments about people with disabilities
- Jokes about a person’s age
- Offensive jokes, emails or posters containing any of the above
If you feel that you are working in a hostile environment, it is very important to document it. Be sure to submit a formal complaint in writing and to keep a record of any responses. If you are concerned that your employer will retaliate against you for making a complaint, our Queens hostile work environment lawyers can represent you.Schedule Consultation
Workplace Harassment and a Hostile Work Environment in Queens
As touched on above, a hostile work environment is often the product of workplace harassment and discrimination. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassment is a form of discrimination that violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically, Title VII. Harassment may also be a breach of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).
While there are a number of workplace behaviors that a person may engage in that could be uncomfortable, harassment is only unlawful under federal law if the following criteria are satisfied:
- First, the harassing behavior–which may include a number of different behaviors, including those listed above–becomes an enduring, pervasive condition of continued employment. This means that an isolated incident of teasing will likely not constitute harassment.
- Second, the conduct is so severe that, even if it is not an enduring condition of continued employment, it creates a hostile work environment or an environment that a reasonable person would find abusive or intimidating.
- Under the New York State Human Rights Law, an employer can be liable for less than under federal law. Under state law, an employee only has to show that the harassment subjected them to “inferior terms, conditions or privileges of employment.”
- The New York City Human Rights Law requires an employee to show even less in order to have a harassment claim. Under City Law, an employee has to show that they were treated less well than their co-workers due to their membership in a protected class.
Who Can Be Involved in a Workplace Harassment & Hostile Work Environment Case?
One misconception that many employees have is that the protection against a hostile work environment and workplace harassment is only afforded when the hostile environment and harassment are the product of a supervisor’s actions. However, this is not the case. To be sure, harassing behavior and the creation of a hostile work environment may involve a co-worker, an employee in another department, a supervisor or manager, or even a non-employee. What’s more, a hostile work environment can be created for those who are not the direct victims of the harassment. For example, if Person A is being harrassed, Person B–a mere observer–may be affected by the offensive conduct and may feel intimidated as such. Anyone who is affected by the conduct and believes that a hostile work environment has been created has the right to bring forth a claim.
It is unlawful for your employer to retaliate against you if you bring forth a claim. If you have been retaliated against for reporting harassment, discrimination, or your belief that a hostile work environment has been created, call a Queens hostile work environment lawyer immediately.
You may experience anxiety, depression or decreased self-esteem. Our lawyers are prepared to pursue emotional damages in addition to economic and punitive damages.More Stories
Steps to Take if You Think You Have a Hostile Work Environment Claim
If you believe that the environment in which you are working is hostile, there are a few important steps to take. First, you should write down all the details of the hostile work environment, including any specific instances of harassment. You should also report the harassment and hostile work environment to your supervisor or HR manager, and keep a detailed record of this interaction and your report. If the problem is not alleviated, you can file a charge of discrimination (remember, workplace harassment is a form of discrimination) with the EEOC, or New York State Division of Human Rights. It is strongly recommended that you consult an attorney for legal guidance and assistance in filing your charge and understanding your rights, options, and what happens next.