Hostile Workplace Environment

How To Know If You Have a Hostile Work Environment

A hostile workplace environment exists when your boss or co-worker engages in actions, behaviors, or communications that make your ability to perform the job impossible.  For example, if your boss verbally harasses you on the basis of your sex, race, religion, or age may be creating an unlawful hostile workplace environment.

Legal Requirements for Hostile Work Environment

In New York, the requirement for establishing an unlawful hostile work environment include:

  • Actions or behavior discriminate against a protected class, such as sex, age, religion, race, disability
  • Actions must be pervasive, and lasting over time, not limited to an off color remark
  • The hostile actions, behavior, communications are severe enough to seriously disrupt the employee’s ability to perform his or her job function

Dealing With a Hostile Work Environment

The first step in dealing with a hostile workplace environment is to ask the offending employee to stop the behavior or actions. If you find this difficult, seek help from your manager or human resources. Asking the offending employee to stop the behavior put them on notice that you will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior.

You must bring the behavior to your employer’s attention. Your employer will have the opportunity to investigate the behavior and address the situation.  After you give your employer a chance to do what is right, and no change takes place, you may have a claim for employment discrimination based on a hostile workplace environment.

In addition, the employer or co-worker may not retaliate against you for reporting the inappropriate behavior. This would be unlawful retaliation, and grounds for employment discrimination for reporting a hostile workplace.

Protecting Your Rights in the Workplace

If you have been subject to a hostile workplace environment, please feel free to call the Law Offices of Vincent P. White for a free, confidential consultation.  You don’t have to put up with unlawful harassment.  We can help protect your employee rights!