Sexual harassment can create a hostile work environment. In many cases, harassment isn’t limited to one or two victims. When employers fail to stop harassment, many employees can be negatively affected by a hostile work environment. When multiple employees are subject to the same hostile work environment, they can join together in a single large case against the employer in a hostile work environment class action lawsuit.
Discuss Your Hostile Work Environment Class Action With a New York City Attorney
The New York City employment lawyers at Lipsky Lowe LLP have extensive experience handling class-action lawsuits. If you have a potential class-action lawsuit for a hostile work environment, we may be able to help you protect your rights. The sooner you discuss your case with an attorney, the better. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP today to schedule your free case evaluation.
How Do I Know If I Am a Victim of a Hostile Work Environment?
When employees are subjected to discrimination or harassment that is pervasive, their employer has allowed a hostile work environment to occur. Victims of a hostile work environment may be entitled to compensatory damages for the pain and suffering they’ve endured due to the harassment. When an employee experiences retaliation for reporting a hostile work environment, they may be entitled to back pay and front pay.
A hostile work environment is a form of unlawful harassment. In hostile work environment cases, the harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a co-worker, or even a non-employee individual. Federal law prohibits harassment in the workplace based on any of the following characteristics:
- Sex (including pregnancy)
- National origin
- Age (40 and older)
A hostile work environment can take many different forms, such as a co-worker repeatedly asking another co-worker out on dates even after he or she declines. Harassment could also involve a coworker taunting an employee for wearing a hijab or other religious garment. In other cases, an employer may allow pornographic images in the workplace, which constitutes a form of sexual harassment.
Federal anti-harassment laws apply to employers with 15 or more employees. New York state and city both have their own human rights laws that are even more protective for employees. As of February 2020, New York’s anti-harassment laws apply to all employers. They also prohibit harassment based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
How Does It Work?
A group of employees who have been subject to a hostile work environment has the right to bring a class-action lawsuit under New York and federal court procedural rules. In a class-action lawsuit, one wrong employee can bring a lawsuit on behalf of all the other employees who have suffered substantially the same injustice. The group is called a class. Each qualifying class member will receive a share of the proceeds when the lawsuit is ultimately resolved. Class-action lawsuits can be beneficial when a large number of employees have suffered harm that wouldn’t justify the expense of litigation individually. They can pool their resources together to obtain a uniform and efficient resolution.
The Difference Between Individual and Class-Action Lawsuits
An employment class-action lawsuit is different from an individual employment lawsuit. An individual employment lawsuit deals with one employee’s legal claims against his or her employer. A class-action lawsuit involves large groups that are all facing the same hostile work environment. For example, suppose all of the employees in a fast-food restaurant have been subjected to a hostile work environment.
All of those employees can join together to bring a lawsuit against their employer. In a class-action lawsuit for a hostile work environment, the hostile work environment doesn’t just affect one employee or a few people. Instead, it impacts an entire group of individuals. The number of individuals who are negatively impacted by the hostile work environment is so great, it would be impractical to try to bring separate lawsuits for all of the employees.
Proving a Hostile Work Environment Claim in NYC
If you and your co-workers have been the victims of a hostile work environment, you may be wondering what steps you should take next. The first step you should take is to reach out to an experienced attorney. Class-action lawsuits require a significant amount of research, planning, and strategy. The sooner your attorney can begin planning the class-action lawsuit, the better for your legal claim.
You have a limited amount of time to take legal action, and your attorney can begin helping you gather the evidence you need to prove that you’ve been subjected to a hostile work environment. Under New York anti-discrimination laws, you do not need to prove that the harassment was severe or pervasive to show that a hostile work environment has been created. However, you will need to show that the conduct that created the hostile work environment is more than “petty slights and trivial inconveniences.” After meeting with an attorney, it’s wise to begin documenting the hostile work environment.
When appropriate, try to take pictures or screenshots of the conduct that created a hostile work environment. For example, if your employer continues to allow pornographic material in the employee break room after you’ve filed a complaint, take photos of the pornographic material. If a manager continues to harass or make sexual advances on employees, write down the dates and times of the harassment and what the manager said. Share the evidence you’ve obtained with your class action attorney.
Contact a Hostile Work Environment Class Action Attorney in New York
Class-action lawsuits allow multiple victims to pool their resources together and bring a single claim against a New York City employer. If you and your co-workers have been subjected to a hostile work environment and the problem is pervasive, you may be entitled to compensation through a class-action lawsuit. Contact our skilled employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP today to schedule your free consultation and learn more about your rights.