Hostile work environment exists when an employee of a company or organization
experiences discriminatory workplace conduct or harassment so pervasive
and so severe that the employee is fearful of going to her or his workplace
for fear of being offended, intimidated, or being exposed to such an oppressive
work atmosphere due to the behavior of the harasser. A hostile work environment
is also one of two ways that may establish a
claim. The employment lawyers of the Law Offices of Schwartz Perry &
Heller LLP may be able to help you if feel you may be exposed to a hostile
Not all abusive behavior is "actionable." That is, you may not
always "have a case," even if your work environment is unpleasant
or difficult. Rather, discriminatory behavior, motivated by any of the
bases of discrimination covered under Title VII, that is so severe or
so pervasive that it creates a hostile working environment violates the
law. A workplace environment becomes "hostile" for purposes of
Title VII employment discrimination claims
when the workplace environment is such that the victim feels intimidated,
ridiculed and/or insulted to the point that the person’s job performance
is affected by such an abusive work environment.
What Constitutes a "Hostile Work Environment?"
Whether a working environment is sufficiently hostile must be determined
by both an objective standard, as viewed by a reasonable person, and a
subjective standard, taking into account the victim's perception.
Because the law does not recognize every unpleasant workplace as a hostile
environment, the court evaluates an employer's conduct as a whole
in the context of all the relevant circumstances. If the conduct could
be found by a jury to have the effect of poisoning the work relationship
and the environment to such a degree that the employee cannot properly
focus on his or her duties, then a hostile workplace could be said to exist.
Relevant factors in evaluating whether harassing or offensive conduct
has reached the level of a hostile environment may include but are not
limited to: the severity of the conduct, if such conduct was threatening
or intimidating physically, the frequency of the repetition of the conduct,
the hostility and/or patent offensiveness of the conduct, the context
of the harassing conduct, whether it unreasonably interfered with an employee's
work performance, and the propriety of management's response upon
learning of the harassment by taking prompt remedial action reasonably
calculated to end the offensive conduct.
Get the Help You Need from Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP
Courts will consider in totality any or all of these and other factors
and circumstances to determine whether conduct by your employer, coworkers,
or supervisors was sufficiently severe or pervasive to constitute a claim
of hostile work environment. Therefore, if you believe that your employer
is maintaining a hostile work environment that interferes with your work
performance, you may wish to consult with an attorney to determine whether
you might have a viable claim. The lawyers of Schwartz Perry & Heller
LLP have the experience and the expertise to help you and we will be pleased
to meet with you to discuss your concerns.
If you are concerned that you may be exposed to a hostile work environment,
we encourage you to
contact us online or call 888-905-4091 to schedule an easy initial consultation with our
New York employment lawyer. During this time, we will be able to determine
whether we can help you, and you will have the opportunity to decide whether
you wish to invite us to do so.