Coworker Sexual Harassment in Nassau County
Nassau County is one of four counties on Long Island. Its population was estimated to have increased to about 1.36 million residents as of 2016. Females make up a very slight majority of the population, but they are not always treated equally in the workforce. If you face coworker sexual harassment in Nassau County, you may be able to hold your employer responsible, depending on how your employer handled the situation. Sexual harassment is prohibited in workplaces of all sizes under the New York State Human Rights Law, and it is also prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which applies to employers that have at least 15 employees. At Phillips & Associates, our Nassau County sexual harassment lawyers may be able to represent you in a lawsuit against an employer that does not respond appropriately to curb coworker sexual harassment.Forms of Coworker Sexual Harassment and Employer Liability
Coworker sexual harassment can consist of unwelcome sexual advances, gestures, innuendos, pranks, assault, touching, or offensive remarks. Generally, isolated incidents and trivial, one-off slights are not actionable. The coworker harassment must result in an adverse employment action, such as termination, or be so severe or pervasive that a reasonable person would find that the harassment had altered the work environment so that it was hostile or offensive. For example, if a coworker sent around pornographic memes with your head pasted into them or kept touching you inappropriately, this is sexual harassment. Our attorneys can advise you specifically on whether your situation may have involved harassment.
Under the New York State Human Rights Law, employers can be held liable for coworker sexual harassment if they knew or should have known about the harassment. They are not strictly liable, as they may be if the harassment is perpetrated by a high-level supervisor or manager. This is because an employer is deemed to have notice of what a supervisor or manager knows. Employers may be liable for the harassment of a coworker only if the employer knew or should have known about the harassment. This means that the employer will be liable if it did not use reasonable care to stop or prevent the harassment.Evidence of Coworker Sexual Harassment
Often, sexual harassment occurs out of the sight of others. Sometimes, in order to cover up the humiliation or embarrassment of being harassed in public, the victim may cover up their feelings of being upset. However, it is important to openly indicate that the sexual harassment, whether it consists of words, physical actions, or gestures, is unwelcome.
It can also help make your claim more credible if you file a contemporaneous complaint or charge, using the internal grievance mechanisms or procedures that have been put in place. It is especially important that the complaint be contemporaneous if you did not indicate in the moment that the harassment was unwelcome. These mechanisms or procedures may be found in your employment handbook. If none can be found in your employment handbook, or there is no handbook, it can be helpful to file a complaint with HR. Generally, a notification should be in writing.Coworker Sexual Harassment As Viewed by the EEOC
If you file a federal charge with the EEOC for coworker sexual harassment, and it investigates the charge, the EEOC will look at your credibility. What you say about the coworker harassment should be detailed and internally consistent, such that it is plausible that things happened as you say that they did. It helps if there are other coworkers or other people who witnessed the conduct itself, and it can also help if someone witnessed your demeanor or how you reacted immediately after the coworker harassment.
Once you complain to a supervisor, a manager, or HR, it is possible that the matter will be resolved appropriately. If so, the employer may not be liable. However, there are situations in which an employer does not handle the situation correctly, ratifies the harassing conduct, or makes it worse. This can lead to employer liability.Hire an Experienced Nassau County Attorney to Protect Your Rights
At Phillips & Associates, our attorneys can evaluate your situation to determine whether you may have a basis to sue for coworker sexual harassment, and we can represent you if appropriate. Call us at (516) 365-3731 or contact us online. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, so you do not need to pay upfront fees, and we offer free consultations.
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