When most people think of harassment in the workplace, they imagine a boss berating or sexually harassing subordinates. While being in the power seat can lead to these issues, workplace harassment extends beyond the manager-employee relationship and encompasses any form of harassment in the workplace—from a coworker, maintenance member, customer, or non-employee. If you have been violated by a fellow colleague, it is important to speak to an experienced New York City work harassment lawyer from Joseph & Norinsberg LLC to discuss your options.
How do I Know if Coworkers are Harassing Me?
Often, workplace coworker harassment can come from the people you least expect. A New York City work harassment lawyer knows it’s easy to assume your coworkers are on the same page as you and that you’re all working toward the same goal. You may let an instance of harassment go unnoticed in the hopes of keeping the peace with other employees, as you have to work with them every day. Complaining about harassment can certainly throw a wrench in group collaborations and office culture. However, none of these considerations are as important as protecting your basic human rights.
Employee-employee or coworker harassment is any unwelcome, discriminatory conduct from a fellow employee. Another employee may say something offensive directly to you, say it about you to others, or post offensive content in a public space. Employee-employee harassment doesn’t have to single any one person out to be against the law. It can be a group email sent to everyone with a sexually inappropriate joke or crass images posted on a public bulletin board.
What Constitutes Harassment in a New York City Workplace?
Any action employees do to other employees that creates an intimidating, abusive, or hostile work environment in New York City qualifies as harassment. It’s important to understand that an isolated incident (unless it’s extremely serious), petty slight, or simple annoyance at work isn’t the same as harassment or abuse in the eyes of the law. To break anti-discrimination laws, the unwelcome conduct must create a workplace where it’s impossible to work.
Anyone can be a victim of workplace harassment. The stereotype is that harassment comes from someone in a higher position, extending power beyond the realm of what’s acceptable. However, employee-employee harassment happens all the time. Federal and New York state anti discrimination laws make sexually abusive or offensive conduct in the workplace illegal, but unfortunately, hundreds of workers still face harassment every day.
Who is Responsible For Employee-Employee Work Harassment?
If you’re involved in an abusive or inappropriate situation with a fellow coworker that you believe qualifies as harassment, you should file a claim with your company, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and finally with the civil court. Liability for an offensive or abusive employee may lie with the company itself or with the individual coworker, depending on the situation.
The courts may find an employer liable for an employee’s inappropriate actions if the company is legally responsible for harm its employee’s cause. If the employee was acting within the scope or his or her employment when harassing another employee, the courts will likely hold the employer responsible for damages. If the harassment happened after work, the courts will hold the individual responsible. Working with a New York City work harassment lawyer is the best way to ensure you’re being protected and compensated for workplace harassment and discrimination.
Contact a New York City Work Harassment Lawyer Today
Workplace harassment is intolerable regardless of who the harasser is and what position he or she holds within the company. Harassment can result in long-lasting emotional and mental damages, often requiring therapy. Harassment based on discrimination (often due to race, gender, or age) against a person for perceived differences is illegal in NYC’s workplaces, and victims can come forward to seek justice without fear of personal or professional retaliation.
Joseph & Norinsberg LLC has over 50 years of collective experience defending the rights of the discriminated, harassed, and abused employees of the Greater New York City area. Get in touch with a work harassment lawyer from our firm through contacting us online today. We offer free evaluations to all of our clients and will give you a fair and honest assessment of your case.