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Hostile Work

Hostile Work

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

Advocating on Behalf of

At Ricotta & Marks, P.C., we represent employees in a broad spectrum of legal matters, including:


According to the NY Department of Human Rights, employers can be held responsible for sexual harassment in the workplace in the following circumstances:
If the harassment was the fault of a co-owner, manager, or supervisor the employer is responsible, regardless of whether or not they knew it was occurring
If the harassment occurred among regular employees, the employer can be held responsible if they knew about it, should have known about it, or failed to have a sexual harassment policy in place.
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Employee Discrimination

Our lawyers are prepared to represent clients who face any type of employment discrimination such as:
Gender discrimination
Marital status discrimination
Pregnancy discrimination and FMLA violations
Sexual orientation discrimination, including transgender discrimination and harassment
Age discrimination
Race or national origin discrimination
Disability discrimination
Religious discrimination
Criminal record discrimination
Violations of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
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Wage & Hour Disputes

We handle many cases that involve wage and hour disputes, including people in certain industries who often fall victim to these situations as well as instances involving:
Unpaid overtime
Under-the-table compensation
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Education Law

New York City teachers face challenges inside and outside the classroom. When they face the possibility of losing their jobs, they deserve representation by experienced attorneys.

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.

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Wrongful Termination

Even in an ‘At Will’ Work Situation, You Have the Right to Work. Employers will always claim that they had a valid reason to lay off or fire an employee. But in many circumstances, this is just disguised discrimination of one form or another. Continued employment and advancement is frequently based on performance reviews. If you have a perfect record, then suddenly go from perfect to pariah, it may be a case of your supervisor or employer giving a negative review in order to have an excuse to remove you from your position or deny a promotion.

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.

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Other Employment Law Issues

As a full-service employment law firm, we can also help you with:
Labor and union representation
Mediation and arbitration matters
Employment contract negotiations and matters
Employer defense
Our New York employment attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that all workers have the opportunity to pursue successful careers, and experience workplaces that are free of harassment or other situations that create tension.
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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.

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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. 

A hostile work environment can be very damaging to an employee’s health.

You may experience anxiety, depression or decreased self-esteem. Our lawyers are prepared to pursue emotional damages in addition to economic and punitive damages.

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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. 

Contact Ricotta & Marks, P.C. Today

If you face harassment, know that you do not need to confront it alone. Contact our offices in Queens or Long Island to speak to an experienced Queens hostile work environment lawyer. Call 347-727-0661.

Ricotta Marks

Ricotta & Marks, P.C.

We understand that your situation is urgent. Our New York employment discrimination attorneys will respond to your questions and concerns as quickly as possible.

Contact Our Office347.464.8694