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Friday, October 14, 2016

WORKPLACE BULLYING

In an era where many of us spent most of our time at work, the workplace has literally become a second home.  Often, we spend more hours in the office during a calendar year then at home.  It is extremely important that the workplace be one that conveys the same sense of safety and security as we have at home.  Yet, frequently that is not the case.  A hostile work environment, resulting from workplace bullying, is unacceptable.  It helps no one, however it is considered part-and-parcel with the many environments.  In fact, there are many who hold the opinion that if one cannot take the harassment, it is simply a sign that person is not cut out for the work.  That is simply wrong.

What is Workplace Bullying?

              Workplace Bullying and a Hostile Work Environment frequently go hand-in-hand.  However, they are not the same thing.  Bullying is defined by its common definition: the use superior strength or influence to intimidate Workplace bullying that amounts to bullying but not based on (1) discrimination of a protected class; (2) regularity; or (3) egregiousness, is often not actionable at all.

What Is a Hostile Work Environment?

              To prevail on a federal Hostile Work Environment claim, a plaintiff must prove that (1) she subjectively perceived the environment to be abusive, (2) her working environment was objectively hostile, and (3) a specific basis exists for imputing the hostile conduct to the employer.  To determine whether a work environment is "objectively hostile," a court must examine all of the circumstances, including the frequency of the discriminatory conduct; its severity; whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; and whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance. Harassment is actionable only if it is so severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of the victim's employment and create an abusive working environment.  Isolated incidents of harassment, unless "extremely serious," thus are not sufficient to give rise to a hostile work environment claim.  incidents of harassment must be more than episodic; they must be sufficiently continuous and concerted in order to be deemed pervasive.

What Can I do?

              If you are in a situation that you believe is either a hostile work environment or involves workplace bullying, do not just take it.  Companies regularly have their own anti-bullying policies that they must hold themselves to.  You can, and should, reach out to someone who can help.  Often, retaining an attorney and engaging the company may allow you to leave on your own terms with a severance package.  Or may allow you to obtain more immediate relief from the individual that has attacked you. 

 

For an experienced employment discrimination attorney, call the Law Office of Jacob Z. Weinstein, PLLC at 646-450-3484.

 


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As a former prosecutor, I fully understand the power law enforcement has. As a trial attorney, I know the law seems very scary.