COVID-19 Updates and Legal Services

Articles Posted in Hostile Work Environment

It is not uncommon for ongoing discriminatory acts in the workplace to create a hostile work environment. As such, the law allows for people subject to a hostile work environment to file claims against their employer. Hostile work environment claims must be filed within a certain timeframe, or they will be dismissed, however, as shown in a recent New York case. If you are subject to a hostile work environment because of discrimination, it is prudent to consult a dedicated New York employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to recover damages.

Factual History

It is reported that the plaintiff worked as a pathologist at the defendant cancer research company. For approximately eighteen months, she was subjected to discrimination in pay as compared to her male colleagues, and discrimination in assignments due to the fact that she was a woman and was Chinese. She also experienced verbal abuse that constituted a hostile work environment. After she exhausted her administrative remedies, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging close to twenty different claims against multiple defendants, including numerous hostile work environment claims. The defendants then jointly filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing in part that the plaintiff’s hostile work environment claims should be dismissed as untimely.

Timeliness of a Hostile Work Environment Claim

Under Title VII, a single discriminatory or retaliatory act occurs on the date that it happens. Therefore, a plaintiff must file a claim within either one hundred and eighty days or three hundred days of the date of the act, or the plaintiff will lose the right to recover damages. Regarding hostile work environment claims, the provision of Title VII that requires a plaintiff to file a claim in a timely manner only requires a plaintiff to file a claim within a specific number of days after the unlawful behavior occurred. It does not matter under the statute, however, that some of the acts of the hostile work environment fell outside of the time period under the statute.

Continue reading

While typically, the identity of a plaintiff in a lawsuit is known by the defendant in some cases, the court will allow the plaintiff to proceed anonymously, to protect the plaintiff’s rights. For example, plaintiffs are often permitted to proceed anonymously in cases in which there are privacy concerns, but a plaintiff seeking to file a lawsuit anonymously faces a high burden. This was discussed in a recent hostile work environment case in which the court found that the plaintiff failed to establish that she should be permitted to proceed anonymously. If you work in New York and are the victim of a hostile work environment, it is prudent to speak with a seasoned  New York hostile work environment attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who describes herself as a respected entrepreneur in New York and a participant in many non-profit activities, worked for the defendant, a successful investment banker from 2016 through 2018. During her employment, the plaintiff was subject to sexual advances from the defendant, and sexual assault, which created a hostile work environment. Thus, the plaintiff filed a complaint against the defendant, alleging hostile work environment, discrimination, wage violations, and retaliation, and asked the court that she be permitted to proceed anonymously. The defendant did not respond to the motion, but upon review, the court ultimately determined that the plaintiff’s anonymity was not warranted.

Factors Weighed in Determining if a Plaintiff Can Proceed Anonymously

Generally, pursuant to the federal rules of civil procedure, the caption of a lawsuit must name all of the parties, and the use of pseudonyms runs afoul of the public’s right to access to judicial proceedings. Thus, if a plaintiff seeks to proceed anonymously, the court must weigh several factors to determine whether the plaintiff’s privacy concerns outweigh the public policy considerations in favor of open proceedings.

Continue reading

There are myriad behaviors that fall under the umbrella of gender discrimination. For example, a person’s employment may suffer due to his or her gender by way of a demotion or denial of a promotion. In other instances, derogatory comments or threatening behavior based on a person’s gender may create a hostile work environment. Although in some cases, a person may be subject to gender discrimination and may experience a hostile work environment, individual acts of discrimination do not necessarily equate to a hostile work environment, as demonstrated in a recent case decided by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. If you suffered discrimination in the workplace due to your gender, it is wise to speak with an experienced New York employment discrimination attorney regarding your potential claims.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff worked for the defendant for 34 years. At one point, she held the position of a supervisor of customer services, but her position was modified due to the fact that there were not enough employees to warrant a supervisor. She was advised, however, that if the position were reinstated, she would be restored to that position. Subsequently, in 2015 the plaintiff applied for the position of supervisor of customer services. No interviews were conducted for the position, which was given to a man who never applied for the position. The man then left the position, and the plaintiff once again applied for the position.

It is reported that the plaintiff’s supervisor gave the position to someone outside of the protected class a second time, after which the plaintiff filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After the plaintiff filed the EEOC complaint, she allegedly experienced a hostile work environment. Ultimately, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant alleging claims of discrimination and hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. The defendant then filed a motion to dismiss the hostile work environment claims.

Continue reading

Under the laws of the State and New York City, people are protected from discrimination based on their religion. Thus, if a person is discriminated against in the workplace due to his or her religious identity, and it creates a hostile work environment, the person’s employer may be held liable. The mere identification as a member of a certain religion is insufficient to sustain a hostile work environment claim, however. Rather, a plaintiff alleging a hostile work environment on the basis of religious discrimination must show that the alleged discriminatory conduct rose to a certain level for the conduct to be actionable.

Recently, a New York appellate court discussed a plaintiff’s burden of proof in a hostile work environment case under both the New York State (NYSHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), in a case in which the plaintiff alleged discrimination on the basis of his religion. If you believe you were the victim of a hostile work environment, it is wise to speak with a trusted New York hostile work environment attorney to discuss whether you may have a viable claim against your employer.

Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who is Jewish, was employed as a firefighter by the defendant city. He filed a complaint with the equal employment office of the defendant, alleging discrimination on the basis of his religion, but the office determined his complaints to be unsubstantiated. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging employment discrimination and hostile work environment claims on the basis of his religion in violation of the NYSHRL and NYCHRL. Specifically, he alleged that one of his co-workers made an anti-Semitic comment and that after he complained about the comment, he was subject to several instances of retaliation, which created a hostile work environment. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

Continue reading

Contact Information