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Is Your Boss Harassing You?

Boss screaming at employeeEmployment Law - Harassment by your Boss

If you are harassed by a co-worker, you speak to your boss or the human resources department about it. But what if it’s your boss who is harassing you? You might not feel as comfortable speaking up and reporting it. It’s illegal for your supervisor anyone in your company to retaliate against you, but reporting harassment can lead to discomfort in the workplace. What should you do if your boss is harassing you?

Attorney guidance is essential if you’ve been subjected to illegal workplace conduct.

Dealing with problems that violate the law are far more different than working with someone with a difficult personality. All of us have faced difficult situations and people who irritate us or make our jobs more difficult. It’s especially difficult when the person making the workplace unpleasant is a supervisor. But a difficult boss doesn’t always warrant a legal problem. When a boss harasses you or creates a hostile work environment, it is a violation of the law.

A hostile work environment makes the workplace unbearable. It can also create a financial loss. If you’re working for someone who is violating the law and you were forced to leave or chose to leave because of the problem, you might be entitled to compensation for your losses.

New York Law Protects You from Discrimination in the Workplace

Employees in New York City are protected by harassment and discrimination in the workplace. This means if anyone in the workplace, including your boss, violates your rights, you have a right to take legal action. If you are harassed because of your membership in a protected class, your rights have been violated. You might be a member of a protected class based on your:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • National origin
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion

You can read more about the protections provided to you under New York City’s efforts to combat workplace harassment and discrimination here.

What is a Hostile Work Environment?

The term hostile work environment is sometimes used incorrectly. Though you might feel hostility in your work environment because you do not like your co-workers or your job, that doesn’t mean your workplace is legally hostile.

To qualify as a hostile work environment, an employer must be large enough to fall under state and federal anti-discrimination laws. You also need to be able to show that harassment is linked to your status in a protected class. Unfortunately, a boss who is mean or demanding and treats everyone in the same manner doesn’t warrant legal action.

However, this doesn’t automatically mean you aren’t dealing with a legal problem. For example, situations in which an employee is being sexually harassed by his or her boss would be considered something for which you should take legal action.

It’s also important that whatever you face in the workplace that it rises to the level that it creates a hostile environment. If most reasonable people would feel discomfort, or abused or intimidated by the situation, chances are you’re facing a situation that justifies legal action. There’s no official formula for determining if a negative situation in the workplace is “severe enough,” but if the problem occurs repeatedly, interferes with your work performance, or is humiliating or threatening, you’ve got a reason to take further action.

Consulting with an attorney can help you determine if the way your boss is treating you qualifies as a hostile environment.

Everyone should be able to earn a living without having to work in an environment that instills fear or intimidation. New York City has done all it can to prevent this from happening, but for those efforts to pay off, you’ve got to report your situation if it seems wrong.

For more information or to speak to someone about harassment in the workplace, contact the NY employment lawyers at Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C.

 

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