If I am offended by the daily content on the TV located in a main lobby at work, is that considered harassment or hostile work environment?

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If I am offended by the daily content on the TV located in a main lobby at work, is that considered harassment or hostile work environment?

I am a healthcare professional and I work in a nursing home. A new TV was installed in the main lobby at the elevators. Originally, its purpose was to advertise the daily activities, weather, date, meal menu, etc; however, the residents requested the TV be set to the less desirable shows shows. My office sits right next to the elevators and I am constantly distracted and offended. When I approached the administrator she agreed with me but said that this was “their” home and that’s what “they” want to watch regardless of how I or anyone else feels about it.

Asked on August 1, 2011 Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is a common misconception, that a workplace cannot be hostile. That is, unfortunately, untrue: a workplace may be completely hostile with only a few exceptions (see below). Apart from those exceptions, a workplace may harass, discriminate, etc. as much as, and anyone, it likes.

The exceptions:

1) No harassment or discrimination against a person on the basis of a protected category, of which there are only a few: e.g. race, sex, religion, age over 40, disability.

2) No harassment or retaliation for bringing a protected claim: e.g. for FMLA leave, a wage and hour claim, a discrimination claim, etc.

Other than that, there is no protection against not be offended or distracted at work.


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