Many individuals do not like their positions, bosses, coworkers or work environment. Perhaps you do not connect to your workplace culture, or you feel as though your boss’s comments about your work are picky. Maybe your coworker talks too loud, or you even sit by an employee that wears too much perfume. Unfortunately, none of these examples constitute a hostile work environment.

Claiming that a work environment is hostile involves significant proof, but if you face harassment and discrimination in your hostile workplace, you have the authority to file a claim with the state of New York. Before doing so, however, it may prove wise to speak to an attorney to help you in determining whether your unique situation will qualify as a hostile work environment. You do not want to bring a false claim against your employer and waste time and money filing a claim that risks denial.

Identifying harassment and a hostile environment

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a hostile work environment must always include discrimination or harassment of one of the protected classes. Evidence must point to the fact that you face discrimination or harassment due to your:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Genetic information
  • Pregnancy
  • Race or color
  • Religion
  • Sex

The court is not likely to identify an isolated instance where an annoying coworker made a slight against you as an illegal act.

Harassment and a hostile environment become apparent in the following ways.

  1. You begin to face offensive acts against your protected class on a regular basis, and you are subjected to these comments or actions due to your job.
  2. You face offensive comments regularly that a reasonable person would see as hostile or abusive.

Comments like jokes, slurs and threats against specific types of people constitute a hostile environment, especially if the action is repeated.

Bringing a claim forward involves courage. Even if you do not face discrimination or harassment yourself, but you witness other coworkers facing these issues, you may bring a claim. Your employer will prove responsible, even if a coworker commits the actions. Know that an attorney can help you identify a hostile situation and determine how to present the information to the court.