Taubman Kimelman & Soroka, LLP
Free Consultation
Foreign Language Services Available: Spanish Korean Creole Croatian 우리는 한국어 서비스가 있습니다
Se Habla Español En Español

What is a hostile work environment?

In our last post, we said that it is often difficult for employees to prove that an employer had a discriminatory motive in taking adverse employment action against them, where in refusing to hire, refusing to promote, demoting, terminating, or any other aspect of employment. Lack of direct statements indicating a discriminatory motive and the employer’s own attempt to pass off the employment action as justified by the employee’s performance can be big hurdles to overcome in discrimination litigation.

As we noted, one potential way to build a discrimination case in such circumstances is to make a case for hostile work environment. When an employer creates a hostile work environment, it can negatively impact employees’ ability to perform their work up to the expected standard. Demonstrating that an employer was responsible for creating or allowing a hostile work environment can help undermine false justifications for adverse employment action. 

What exactly is a hostile work environment? There are a couple characteristics of which employees should be aware. One is that a coworker or supervisor must engage in actions or communications that negatively impact the employee’s ability to do his or her job. A second feature of hostile work environment is that the actions or communications must be aimed at a protected class, such as race, color, religion, sex or pregnancy, national origin, age or disability. Both components must be present for there to be a hostile work environment.

In addition, the actions and communications must be serious, and must occur over time and must impact the work environment itself rather than constituting one or two incidents. For the employer to be held liable for creating a hostile work environment, it must have been aware of what was going on and failed to take effective action. Putting the employer on notice about the problem is, therefore, important.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this topic, and how an experienced attorney can help ensure that an employee negatively impacted by a hostile work environment is able to seek justice against the employer. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Now Is The Time To Take Action Contact us for a free consultation.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

30 Vesey Street
6th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Phone: 212-227-8140
Fax: 212-385-0662
Map & Directions