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Explicit / Implicit Sexual Harassment

New York Attorneys Protecting Workers Against Gender Discrimination

Workplace sexual harassment, in any form, is prohibited by federal and state laws. Suggestive comments that create a hostile environment at your job are just as illegal as overtly offensive behavior. The dedicated gender discrimination lawyers of Phillips & Associates have significant experience helping victims of unlawful employment practices in New York. If you have been affected by an offensive, intimidating, or hostile work environment, you may have a claim.

Implicit and Explicit Harassment

Sexual harassment is a term that refers to unlawful gender discrimination that can occur in one of two ways. Quid pro quo behavior unfolds when an employer makes employment decisions based on unwelcome sexual conduct. A common example of this situation is a supervisor offering an employee a promotion if he or she sleeps with the boss.

Quid pro quo harassment can occur either explicitly with an outright offer or implicitly through insinuations. Comments that an employee would have a better chance of a promotion if he or she were “nicer” or “more friendly” to the boss could be a hint at a request for sex, depending on the circumstances. Similarly, veiled suggestions that someone may suffer negative consequences if he or she rebuffs a supervisor’s advances may also constitute harassment.

The other, more pervasive type of sexual harassment is called a hostile work environment. It occurs when an employer or coworker engages in behavior that either interferes with an employee's ability to do his or her job, or creates an intimidating or offensive atmosphere in the workplace. This type of harassment can also be either implicit or explicit. Sexual assaults, repeated crude or offensive comments, or other overt behavior might all give rise to hostile work environment harassment. However, this type of situation also could be caused by anonymous harassment, frequent demeaning comments about women, or other indirect actions.

If you have questions about whether your employer or coworkers might have engaged in sexual harassment, an experienced attorney can help explain how the law applies to your situation.

Federal and State Laws Benefit Employees

There are federal, state, and local rules that safeguard the right of New York workers to be free from sexual harassment. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the primary federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in the workplace. It applies to companies with 15 or more employees. A victim of sexual harassment must first file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before pursuing a claim under the Civil Rights Act.

The New York City and New York State Human Rights Laws also apply to workers who have faced sexual harassment at their jobs. They offer many of the same protections as the federal rules in this area but sometimes extend more broadly. For instance, an employer need only employ four workers to be subject to a claim under the state law.

Discuss Your Sexual Harassment Case with a New York Lawyer

Just because your employer did not engage in explicit sexual harassment does not mean that it hasn’t broken the law. If a supervisor or coworker, either implicitly or explicitly, based employment decisions on unwanted advances or created a hostile work environment, you may be entitled to damages. Phillips & Associates is comprised of sexual harassment attorneys who can help you protect your rights in a New York workplace. Call (212) 248-7431 or complete our contact form to arrange a free and confidential case evaluation.

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