Silvia Stanciu is an employment litigation attorney at Phillips & Associates. Recently, Super Lawyers, an attorney rating service that names top practitioners in each state in numerous practice areas, named Ms. Stanciu a Rising Star in New York. Additionally, Super Lawyers asked Ms. Stanciu to address whether a person working in New York can sue his or her employer for sexual harassment by a coworker.
What is Considered Sexual Harassment?
Ms. Stanciu advised that any unwelcome behavior or comments of a sexual nature in the workplace may constitute sexual harassment. Typically, sexual harassment is quid pro quo or creates a hostile work environment. Quid pro quo harassment is transactional. In other words, the harasser pressures his or her victim into engaging in sexual conduct in exchange for a raise or promotion. Thus, the victim’s employment status is affected by his or her willingness to submit to sexual activity with a coworker.
Conversely, Ms. Stanciu explained, sexual harassment creates a hostile work environment when unwelcome sexual conduct or comments inhibits a person’s ability to do his or her job. There are numerous laws that allow people to pursue claims against an employer due to a hostile work environment. Under the federal statute, the victim must show that the harassing behavior is pervasive or severe in order to prove it created a hostile work environment. Common examples of conduct that constitutes sexual harassment include sexual texts, emails, and comments, viewing or sharing pornography, and remarks regarding a person’s appearance or body.
Steps to Take if You Are Being Sexually Harassed by a Coworker
Ms. Stanciu set forth steps you should take if you are being sexually harassed by a coworker, in order to stop the harassment and preserve your right to seek legal recourse against your employer if the harassment does not stop. Initially, you should report your coworker’s conduct to your employer, who is legally obliged to stop the behavior. If your employer has guidelines for reporting sexual harassment, it is important to follow them to protect your rights.
Ms. Stanciu advised that if your employer either refuses to address your sexual harassment or is unable to stop it from occurring, you should then meet with a trusted employment litigation attorney to assist you with filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will review your claim and determine what steps to take. If the EEOC cannot assist you and your employer in coming to a resolution, it may issue a right to sue letter, which allows you to proceed with filing a lawsuit against your employer. Notably, you cannot sue your employer for sexual harassment in federal court until a right to sue letter has been issued.
Consult a Seasoned New York Employment Discrimination Attorney to Discuss Your Claim
People should be permitted to work without fear of sexual harassment. If you are a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace you should consult a seasoned New York employment discrimination attorney to discuss your case. Ms. Stanciu and the other skillful employment discrimination attorneys of Phillips & Associates will work tirelessly to help you seek compensation from your employer for your harm. We can be reached through our online form or at (866) 229-9441 to schedule a meeting regarding your potential claims. We assist parties seeking damages in sexual harassment lawsuits in New York City, and in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties, as well as in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.