Many workplaces present issues for employees, such as co-workers with offensive opinions or overbearing personalities. There are times, however, when a work environment transcends merely being challenging and becomes hostile, such as when an employee is subject to repeated discriminatory actions and comments. The differences between unpleasant and hostile work environments were explained in a recent New York opinion, in a case alleging discrimination based on age and race. If you are subject to continued injustice in the workplace, you may be able to pursue claims against your employer, and it is prudent to speak with a New York hostile work environment attorney to evaluate your options.
The Plaintiff’s Allegations
It is alleged that the plaintiff, who is a black woman in her fifties, worked as a teacher for the defendant. When a new supervisor started in 2015, she began receiving negative reviews, was targeted for excessive supervision due to her race and age, and was subject to several events that created progressive hostility. She eventually asked for and received a reassignment. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging claims of a hostile work environment and discrimination based on age and race. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing, in part, that the plaintiff failed to establish the elements of a hostile work environment claim.
Establishing a Hostile Work Environment Under New York Law
The court explained that courts are wary of setting the bar too high in hostile work environment claims. Thus, a plaintiff merely needs to plead facts that are adequate to support a conclusion she faced harassment of such a quantity or severity that a reasonable person would find it detrimentally altered the conditions of her employment in order to withstand summary judgment. Continue reading