People come into our office all the time in White Plains, NY and they tell us that they are being subjected to a hostile work environment and our response to them is the phrase hostile work environment really doesn’t mean much unless its attached to other words such as because of age, gender, disability, religion, national origin, color or in the state of New York sexual orientation or your status as a victim of domestic violence. The law doesn’t prohibit employers from being poor managers, abusive people, stupid, what it does prohibit is being abusive while treating people differently in the terms and conditions of employment because they are a member of a protected class and the hostile environment can be over a period of time abusive words, it can be touching, it can be abusive words to others or in a protected class and it has to be severe and pervasive. Half the work environment is not engendered simply because of stray comments, the comments, the hostility based on it being a member of a protected class must be severe and pervasive and there is both the subject of element to that and also an object of element to it.

This informational blog post was provided by Jane Gould, an experienced New York Employment Attorney.