Unfortunately, discriminatory conduct on the part of an employer or co-workers (or both) that creates a hostile work environment is a not uncommon occurrence. However, currently there are many state and federal laws that protect employees from discriminatory actions in the workplace.
Generally, employers are prohibited from unfair treatment of an employee based on that employee’s race, age, religion, sexual orientation or any other legally protected characteristic. Discrimination based on such protected characteristics is prohibited in recruiting/hiring, promotions, compensation, retaliation, discipline, etc.
Additionally, employers are required to refrain from operating in a manner so as to create a hostile work environment. Whether a particular workplace constitutes a “hostile” workplace must be determined by both an objective standard, from the point of view of a “reasonable” person, and a subjective view from the perspective of the victim.
At this point, it should be noted that not all abusive or objectionable workplace behavior rises to the level of an actionable legal claim. An attorney evaluating a potential claim must examine the entirety of the objectionable conduct in the context of the work environment as a whole. Factors to be considered include the severity of the objectionable conduct, whether there was a real threat of physical harm, how long the conduct lasted, the effect of the conduct on the victim’s job performance and what, if anything, the employer did when it became aware of the conduct.
After such an assessment, a determination must be made if the complained of conduct is sufficient to support a claim of workplace discrimination/hostile work environment. In order to make such an assessment, an aggrieved employee should consult an experienced securities employment lawyer such as those at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo.
A related area of concern lies with the assertion of whistleblower claims. There are several state and federal laws that protect employees who report the misdeeds or misconduct of their employers to the government. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who make such disclosures. Moreover, if the disclosure is later substantiated by the government agency involved, the reporting employee may be entitled to a financial award.
Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo also frequently represents employers in claims asserted by disgruntled employees. These claims frequently arise as counter-claims when employers file FINRA arbitration claims seeking repayments of promissory notes or forgivable loans. The securities employment attorneys at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo have successfully defended brokerage firms against the counter-claims of employees while winning awards for repayment of promissory notes/forgivable loans.
Any employee who believes she has been discriminated against, or is being forced to work in a hostile work environment, should contact the securities employment attorneys at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo for a free consultation.