Coworker Sexual Harassment on Long Island
Long Island is made up of four counties, including two that are New York City boroughs: Queens and Brooklyn. When people talk about "Long Island," however, they are more commonly referring to Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Every employee on Long Island is entitled to be free from sexual harassment at work under New York law. Sexual harassment is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. While the provisions of the New York State Human Rights Law usually apply to employers that have at least four employees, the prohibition against sexual harassment applies to all employers, regardless of their size. At Phillips & Associates, our Long Island sexual harassment lawyers may be able to represent you if you were a victim of coworker sexual harassment at your job. We have an office in Manhasset, from which we represent people throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties.Coworker Sexual Harassment and Asserting Your Legal Rights
Both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the New York State Human Rights Law prohibit coworker sexual harassment. In most cases, coworker harassment is hostile work environment harassment, which takes the form of words, jokes, pranks, physical violence, or threats of a sexual nature that are directed toward a worker due to their sex. Sexual harassment by coworkers may therefore include sexual innuendoes, emailing graphic materials, offensive remarks about sex, unwelcome sexual advances, and even assault or rape.
Sexual harassment can also include sexually discriminatory statements about a particular sex. For example, if your coworker routinely denigrates women and says that they are bad at the office and belong in the home, this could be sexual harassment.
In order to constitute a hostile work environment, the harassment must be either severe or pervasive. A one-off remark by a coworker is likely not actionable. However, sexual assault by a coworker or a pattern of daily sexual abuse or insults likely would be. To be actionable, sexual harassment must subjectively cause the worker bringing the claim humiliation or discomfort, or interfere with their job performance. It must also be objectively offensive.
Courts will look at all of the circumstances, including the frequency of the actions, their severity, and whether they are humiliating, physically threatening, or simply offensive. Psychological harm is just one factor, and the objective severity of sexual harassment is judged from the perspective of a "reasonable person" in the plaintiff's situation. There are debates about whether a plaintiff's sex should be considered in an analysis of what a reasonable person would think about the harassment.
You should confront the coworker and tell them that the sexual comments or advances are unwanted. You should also report the harassment to your employer. Our Long Island sexual harassment attorneys can help you draft your report of sexual harassment. In order to hold your employer liable for sexual harassment by a coworker, your attorney will need to show that the employer knew or should have known about the harassment, but it did not take steps to prevent or correct it. It is crucial, therefore, to report coworker sexual harassment to your employer and to give it an opportunity to correct the problem. When an employer has a strong sexual harassment policy and takes steps to correct the problem, it may not be held liable. If you choose not to avail yourself of corrective opportunities, the employer may have a strong defense against your case. If you are terminated after reporting or complaining about sexual harassment, you may have a claim for radiation.Damages
If you establish employer liability for coworker sexual harassment, you may be able to recover economic losses, such as back pay, front pay, and out-of-pocket costs. You may also be able to recover compensatory damages, including emotional distress damages. You can recover punitive damages if your employer is covered under Title VII, and that law was a basis of your claim. These damages, like compensatory damages, are capped under Title VII. However, you cannot recover punitive damages under the New York State Human Rights Law. Punitive damages are damages intended to punish and deter wrongdoers.Consult an Experienced Sexual Harassment Attorney on Long Island
At Phillips & Associates, we fight sexual harassment by coworkers, customers, clients, and supervisors on Long Island, and we may be able to help you recover damages if you have been mistreated on the job. Our attorneys offer free consultations. There are no upfront fees, and we accept cases on a contingency basis, which means that you will not need to pay attorneys' fees unless we recover damages for you. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form.
PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES
1129 Northern Boulevard, 4th Floor,
Manhasset, NY 11030