Thanks to my friend Rich Steer, an employment law attorney in NYC, who zeroed in on NYC to addess my partner Christina’s inquiry into the legality of saying “Bless you” in the workplace:
“It may depend on where you have facilities. Under the New York City Human Rights Law, the severe or pervasive test for what constitutes a harassing environment has been eliminated. To be actionable in NYC, conduct must arguably constitute more than a petty slight or trivial inconvenience.
Outside of NYC, an objective person may find that saying bless you may not constitute legal harassment, but you never know. I believe that it is best to ensure that employees can complain to someone in the company who will take all complaints seriously even if at first glance they might seem over-sensitive.”