Erica Shnayder Addresses Whether You Can Sue Your Employer for Sexual Harassment In New York For Super Lawyers
Erica Shnayder is a senior associate at Phillips & Associates, practicing in the area of employment discrimination litigation. Ms. Shnayder is committed to helping people protect their workplace rights, and as a result of her diligent representation, she was named a Rising Star in employment litigation by Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers is a service that recognizes top attorneys in each state in numerous practice areas. Additionally, Super Lawyers asks leading attorneys to answer pertinent questions that arise in their practice areas. Recently, Ms. Shnayder responded to the question of whether you can sue your employer for sexual harassment in New York. Ms. Shnayder explained that while you have a right to sue your employer for sexual harassment, there are specific steps that you must take prior to filing a lawsuit. It is essential to follow these steps, since a failure to do so can jeopardize any potential lawsuit.Addressing the Harasser
A central element of sexual harassment is that the sexual conduct is unwanted. In many cases, the harasser will attempt to defend his or her actions by arguing that he or she did not know that his or her sexual comments or conduct was unwelcome. Therefore, if you directly address your harasser’s behavior and ask him or her in explicit terms to refrain from engaging in the harassing behavior, this can help negate any argument that it was unclear that the conduct was unwanted. If you can document your conversation in writing, it can help establish a clear record of the conduct and the fact that it was unwanted. Ms. Shnayder cautioned, however, that if you feel that you cannot safely address your harasser regarding his or her behavior, you should not put yourself in harm’s way.Filing a Report
Ms. Shnayder then advised that if addressing the harasser does not stop the harassment, or you are unable to confront your harasser, you should advise your supervisor of the harassment. If your supervisor is harassing you, you should report the harassment to human resources or higher level management if possible. If your company has rules or guidelines regarding how to report sexual harassment, you should comply with the guidelines and document your compliance if possible. Hopefully, once you report the harassment to your employer, your employer will take action to stop any further harassment. If it does not, however, you can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is a federal agency that administers and enforces laws pertaining to civil rights, including anti-harassment laws, in workplaces throughout the nation.
Ms. Shnayder noted that prior to filing an EEOC claim, it is advisable to contact an employment litigation attorney to discuss the best course of action, as well as the evidence that you may need in support of your claim. After you file a claim with the EEOC, the EEOC will communicate with your employer and determine whether to investigate the charge, dismiss it, or take some other action. When the EEOC finishes processing your claim, it may issue a "right to sue" letter, which will allow you to proceed with litigation against your employer.Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Employer
As Ms. Shnayder explained, after you are issued a right to sue letter, you can then file a sexual harassment lawsuit against your employer in federal court. It is essential to retain an attorney prior to filing a federal lawsuit against your employer, since there are many critical deadlines that you must meet.Meet with a Seasoned New York Attorney to Discuss a Sexual Harassment Case
Sexual harassment in the workplace is never acceptable, and employers that engage in harassment or permit harassment to continue should be held accountable for the damage that the harassment causes. If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, Ms. Shnayder and the other attorneys at Phillips & Associates can assist you in pursuing claims against your employer for any damages that you may be owed. We can be reached through our online form or at (212) 248-7431. We represent individuals in employment discrimination lawsuits in New York City as well as Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.