Workplace harassment in New York City occurs when an employee is treated in a manner which would be seen as offensive or perverse because of specific characteristics that are protected by law. This type of treatment is also known as a hostile work environment and is illegal. For the past 25 years, the attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group has helped victims of workplace harassment receive the compensation they deserve.
What Is Workplace Harassment in New York City?
Workplace harassment is also known as creating a hostile work environment. In New York City, it is not illegal for an employer, supervisor, manager, CEO, or fellow employee to be mean or treat you poorly. However, it is illegal for this treatment to be based on your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, pregnancy, gender identification, military status, citizenship status, or any other protected class. This type of treatment must be offensive by more than a petty, slight, or trivial inconvenience. Workplace harassment may come in the form of offensive jokes, berating, offensive name-calling, physical threats of violence, threats affecting the quality of your work environment, and more.
What Evidence is Needed to Prove Workplace Harassment in New York City?
In order to prove workplace harassment, you must prove three things.
1. The harassment is based on you being a member of a protected class. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964, a protected class includes:
• National origin
• Age (over 40)
• Sexual orientation
• Gender Identity
• Military status
2. The harassment is more than a petty, trivial, or slight inconvenience. In New York City, this is a more lenient definition of harassment than in mother states. However, it means that the harassment must present a problem and be offensive, but it does not necessarily mean it needs to be severe.
3. The workplace harassment makes your job unbearable, causing a reasonable person to quit the place of employment if able. You may stay at a place of employment even when experiencing workplace harassment because you may not have another option at the moment. However, that does not mean a reasonable person with options would stay employed. The fact that the harassment is unbearable may be evidence of the extreme pain and suffering you endured just to make sure you still receive a paycheck.
What Qualifies as Workplace Harassment?
Workplace harassment, or a hostile work environment, occurs when you are harassed by your employer, co-worker, supervisor/manager, or CEO. As mentioned, this has to be based on you being a member of a protected class. Here are some examples of workplace harassment:
- You are constantly called a dumb woman by your boss
- Your co-worker makes racist jokes about you and your friends
- Your supervisor often sends emails with comics that make fun of different religions or are racist
- Your CEO calls you the fat, pregnant lady when referring to you or even speaking to you
- You come into work and have hearing aid adds plastered around your desk. You are over 40 years old. This happens at least once a week even after you ask for it to stop.
- Your boss constantly uses racial slurs around the office, no matter who is around
- Your supervisor is always using homophobic slurs when talking to you
- Your boss makes fun of your religious traditions every chance he gets, even when you have repeatedly asked him to stop
- Your boss berates you whenever you need to take a few days off for your chemo treatments or radiation treatments
- Your boss threatens to physically harm you because he thinks your accent is detrimental to the reputation of the company
- Your boss tries to imitate your foreign accent whenever reprimanding you
- Your co-worker yells at you and tells you to “go back to where you came from.”
- Your employer says you can get promoted if you have sex with him
- Your employer constantly gropes you even though you have made it clear you are not interested and want him to stop
What is the Statute of Limitations to File a Workplace Harassment Lawsuit in New York City?
Filing a workplace harassment lawsuit in New York City depends on the claim in which you want to use for your case. You have between 300 days and 3 years to file your claim.
If your claim is based on discrimination and you wish to use Title VII as your basis, you have a time limit of 300 days to file a claim with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will investigate the claim and issue a Right to Sue Letter if you have a valid Title VII claim of workplace harassment.
The New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYC CHR) provides a time limit of 3 years to file your lawsuit for workplace harassment.
What Remedies Are Available to Victims of Workplace Harassment in New York City?
Victims of workplace harassment in New York City are entitled to compensation under the law. Some of the remedies available through the courts include:
- Removal of the supervisor or individual responsible for the harassment
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Review and revamping policies and procedures concerning workplace harassment
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Attorney’s fees
- Punitive damages
How Long Will Workplace Harassment Litigation Take to be Resolved in New York City?
A workplace harassment lawsuit in New York City can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to a year or longer to resolve. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement with you, your case may settle within 4 to 6 months without ever having to step foot in a courtroom. However, if your employer refuses to negotiate a fair settlement or wants to take your case to court as a matter of policy or principle, the preparation for trial may take 8 months to a year or longer. The actual trial may then take an additional few days to several weeks or more before a judgment is entered.
A Few Thing You Can Do Right Now
As a victim of workplace harassment, it is not easy to decide what your next step should be. However, as you decide on whether or not to file suit, here are a few things you can do to help prepare for your decision:
- Contact an experienced workplace harassment attorney immediately.
- If you have not quit your job or been fired, do not quit until you speak with an attorney.
- If you have an HR department, file a workplace harassment claim in writing.
- If your company has a policy regarding workplace harassment, follow it.
- Gather evidence. Document every instance of workplace harassment. Include who was involved, when and where it occurred, what occurred, and any witnesses. Also collect any harassing emails, texts or notes and/or photos.
- Do not waste time. You have a small window to file a claim for workplace harassment. Do not wait until it is too late.
Contact Our Experienced New York City Workplace Harassment Attorneys for a Free Consultation
All employees have a right to work in an environment in which they are not the victim of offensive or harassing gestures or language based on being a member of a protected class. If you are the victim of workplace harassment in New York City, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (212) 587-0760 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.