HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT: THE TOXIC WORKPLACE SYNDROME
On more than 50 occasions over a period of several years, a Chrysler employee of Cuban-Jewish descent was the target of hostile and belligerent, anti-Semitic, anti-Cuban and homophobic attacks consisting of messages spray painted on the walls in his work area and placed in his tool box. The aggression later escalated to vandalism and death threats. While most employees don’t work in this kind of poisonous atmosphere, there are workplaces where persistent, abusive and harassing conduct makes the employees wish they did not have to be there. If your work environment is hard to tolerate, New York City hostile work environment attorneys can help you.
How do I know if my workplace is toxic?
Harassment can come in many forms. The person instigating the harassment can be a co-worker or manager. The harasser may come from another department or area and may be a sales person or client who comes by on a regular basis. You can be a victim of a hostile work environment even if the offensive conduct is not directed at you but is instead directed at a coworker. Demeaning comments or jokes about race or religion or insults about the capabilities or appearance of older employees or disabled workers can constitute harassment, as can e-mails containing sexually suggestive cartoons or pictures or off- color jokes. A co-worker or supervisor who teases or touches an employee unnecessarily and does not stop, despite repeated requests, and a supervisor who makes it clear that the next promotion depends on how well the employee “takes care of him” can make a work environment hostile. Allow experienced and knowledgeable New York City discrimination lawyers to evaluate your circumstances and advise you of your options.
New York City human rights law
Discrimination, harassment and hostile work environment claims against New York City employers with more than four employees have, under certain circumstances, a better chance to succeed when brought under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) than they do under federal or state laws. Under the NYCHRL:
- The employer is strictly liable for the acts of managers and supervisors.
- Punitive damages can be awarded, even though they cannot be awarded under New York State law.
- An employee is not obligated to prove that the harassing conduct was severe and pervasive, only that the employee is a member of a protected group because of race, color, religion, sex national origin, age or disability, and was not treated as well as other employees.
Contact the Akin Law Group and we will help determine whether, where and how to best pursue your discrimination claim.