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?

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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