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Hostile Work Environment Attorneys in NYC

Have You Been Subjected to a Hostile Work Environment?

Recently, the rise in complaints about sexual harassment has shed light on the way that power imbalances in the workplace can result in harmful behavior that has long-lasting effects on victims. At Levine & Blit, PLLC, our job is to help protect employees who have been subjected to harassment and hostile workplace environments.

If you have experienced workplace misconduct, whether related to your gender or another protected category, our team is here to help you seek justice. Call our NYC hostile work environment lawyers at Levine & Blit: (646) 461-6838.

Hostility Toward Protected Classes

If your boss frequently yells at your team, does that constitute hostility? What if one of your coworkers refuses to listen to you because of your age? Do you have any recourse for repeated use of slurs and demeaning jokes made by clients in your presence? We understand that a “hostile work environment” can be difficult to pin down.

Even though dealing with rude or temperamental coworkers can have a negative impact on one’s health and mental state, there are no legal protections against general negativity in the workplace. In order to meet the legal definition of a hostile work environment, the action or conduct must be based on a protected category.

According to state and federal law, protected classes include:

  • Sex
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race, ethnicity, or national origin
  • Disability status
  • Age
  • Religion

Some states, including New York, extend these protections to other groups, including immigrants and pregnant women. This behavior does not have to come from a coworker or supervisor to be considered illegal. Anyone on the premises, including freelancers or even customers, can behave in ways that constitute harassment.

Sexual harassment tends to receive the most attention, since it is currently the most prevalent type of workplace misconduct, but employees can face discrimination for many other reasons as well. According to a survey conducted by the CDC in 2010, nearly 8% of American workers reported hostile work environments.

What Constitutes Hostile Behavior in the Workplace?

Another important thing to know about workplace harassment is that the misconduct must be severe and repeated. If one of your coworkers makes an off-color joke, is promptly reprimanded, and never does so again, your employer has properly dealt with the issue—and you would have no cause to complain about them.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the laws regarding hostility in the workplace and uses the “reasonable person” standard to decide where annoyances cross the line into harassment.

Behaviors that may meet this standard include:

  • Offensive jokes
  • Use of slurs or epithets
  • Intimidation or threats
  • Physical assault
  • Insults or ridicule
  • Actions that hinder your ability to complete your job
  • Display of offensive or inappropriate materials

We Can Help You Speak Up About Unlawful Harassment

Many employees choose to ignore harassment because they are scared their employer will dock their pay, transfer them to less desirable duties, or fire them. It is illegal for companies to retaliate in any way due to a complaint about sexual harassment, discrimination, or other reports detailing infringement on worker rights.

At Levine & Blit, PLLC, our attorneys fight hard to protect workers' rights and hold employers accountable. To learn more about your rights as an employee, contact our firm today at (646) 461-6838 to schedule a free phone evaluation.

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