Protecting Your Employment Rights in New York City

Is your work environment hostile?

Employers are responsible for keeping harassment out of the workplace. It seems commonsensical, but oftentimes the actions of managers, supervisors or co-workers create an environment that’s hostile to another employee. If the harassment is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with a person’s ability to do his or her job, the workplace has become a hostile work environment. In addition, under New York City Law, the harassment does NOT have to be severe or pervasive to qualify. New York City has some of the most employee protective laws in the world! Under the New York City law, the harassment need only rise above what is considered a “petty slight” or “trivial inconvenience.” Furthermore, even single incidents of sexual harassment or discrimination may be enough.

While this is a difficult predicament for anyone, the law only provides protection if the harassment is directed at a person because of certain physical traits or membership in a set of specific groups. Together these traits and groups are called protected classes.

People in a protected class who have been the target of severe or pervasive harassment because of their membership in that class can claim that they’ve suffered from a hostile work environment and look to the law for help.

What constitutes a protected class

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, along with the laws of New York State and New York City’s human rights laws, make employers legally liable for discrimination that happens in the workplace against someone for any of the following reasons:

Who’s harassing you matters

New York State has tough laws regarding hostile work environments. These laws acknowledge the greater power senior managers hold in a workplace and treat acts of harassment committed by them as if they were committed by the employer.

The laws treat harassment committed by co-workers and lower-level supervisors differently. In these cases, employers can defend themselves by investigating the harassment and taking effective remedial measures to stop it. If they fail, or do nothing, they can be legally liable for the harassment.

If you’re a victim in a protected class

Don’t worry if you don’t have a copy of a harassing email or a recording of your harasser admitting the harassment. In many cases, especially when the harasser is in a powerful position or tied to people in powerful positions, the employer may make efforts to conceal his or her conduct. There may not be a single piece of obvious evidence, but when looked at as a whole, there is often a strong case. To protect your rights, it’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

Contact us about your hostile work environment

The Derek T. Smith Law Group has been a strong and reliable advocate for clients dealing with difficult employment law issues. Our attorneys know the intricacies of New York’s employment laws and use that knowledge to deliver the most favorable results for you. Call us today at 877-469-5297 or contact us online. We know how incredibly difficult it may be to be in your position. Let us help.

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