Defining a hostile work environment

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2019 | Employment Law |

Employees who work in any of New York’s many business niches have the right to a safe and nontoxic environment. While physically safe surroundings can be important to their well-being, emotional safety can have an equal impact, which is why it might be important to understand what constitutes a hostile work environment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes that harassment and other types of hostility can stem from any individual in the workplace and create extreme distress for the employees who find themselves targeted. 

The signs of a hostile work environment can vary, but some of the more recognizable clues include discriminatory language, unwelcome sexual comments or advancements and the sabotage of others’ work projects or careers. This type of behavior can happen at almost any business or corporation despite its size or notoriety. For example, Fox Business News reported that Bloomberg LP is currently under fire for such an environment, and many employees have filed lawsuits as a result. While the law does not consider every type of behavior to be hostile, individuals who do not feel safe or feel as if they are in physical danger from another employee may want to speak out immediately. 

It can be difficult to understand the differences between a hostile work environment and workplace bullying, but in most cases, working under a manager who shouts or has a short temper or working with someone who has a consistently negative attitude would likely not fit the legal definition of harassment or a hostile work environment. In most cases, discrimination or different forms of assault are likely to fall under instances where the employee may take legal action.