Available Remedies in Sexual Harassment Lawsuits
Employers who engage in or permit sexual harassment can be held liable for considerable damages, since victims of this illegal conduct may be entitled to seek redress in court. The New York sexual harassment lawyers of Phillips & Associates work diligently to protect the rights of workers. If you have suffered from this type of employment discrimination, we can help you seek the damages to which you are entitled.Workplace Harassment is Illegal
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the major federal law that prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. In addition, the New York State and City Human Rights Laws provide state and local prohibitions on sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination that occurs in one of two ways.
Employees can file a claim if they are subject to sexual harassment in the form of a hostile work environment. This situation may occur when actions by an employer or coworkers create a hostile, offensive, or intimidating environment at the workplace. Conduct that substantially interferes with an employee’s ability to do his or her job may also create a hostile work environment.
Some examples of specific behavior that may create a hostile work environment include:
- Unlawful touching
- Sexual advances
- Sexually explicit comments or jokes
- Blocking or other intimidating physical interactions
There are countless ways in which a hostile work environment may be created. If the behavior either creates the type of environment discussed above or interferes with the employee’s ability to do her job, a hostile work environment may exist.
The other type of sexual harassment is quid pro quo harassment. This occurs when a boss or coworker offers employment benefits in exchange for sex, a date, or other sexual behavior. For example, a supervisor offering a promotion in exchange for going on a date is quid pro quo sexual harassment.Victims of Sexual Harassment May Collect Compensatory and Punitive Damages
Victims of either hostile work environment harassment or quid pro quo harassment may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Once the EEOC evaluates the employee’s claim, it usually issues a right to sue. This clears the way for the employee to file a lawsuit in court against the employer.
An employee who prevails in a sexual harassment lawsuit can win an injunction to force his or her employer to stop discriminatory practices. An employee may also win the right to be reinstated if he or she was terminated.
Further, the worker is entitled to compensatory damages. These are damages that compensate the victim for financial and emotional injuries. For example, if the employee incurred medical or job search expenses, these are reimbursable as compensatory damages. The worker may also collect damages to compensate for mental anguish and other psychological injuries.
Employers who acted either recklessly or maliciously may be subject to punitive damages. Punitive and compensatory damages available in sexual harassment lawsuits are capped at between $50,000 and $300,000, depending on the size of the employer.Hold Discriminatory Employers Accountable
Don’t let your employer get away with sexual harassment. The law gives you the power to hold your employer accountable for his actions. If you have been sexually harassed at work, consult a New York gender discrimination attorney at Phillips & Associates to learn about your rights. To schedule a free discrimination case evaluation, call (212) 248-7431 or visit our contact page online.