I Am Being Sexually Harassed At Work. What Can I Do?

It is unlawful for an employer to engage in or permit sexual harassment in the workplace. The New York sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates have helped countless victims of improper workplace conduct in New York. If you believe that you are being sexually harassed at work, you have options. As with any legal matter, it is in your best interest to speak to an experienced sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible if you believe you are a victim of this inappropriate and illegal behavior.

Learn to Spot Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is simply a type of unlawful gender discrimination. There are generally two types of sexual harassment. One type is quid pro quo harassment, which in this context refers to an exchange of sexual actions for employment benefits. The more common type of sexual harassment takes the form of a hostile work environment. This occurs when unwelcome sexual conduct — either verbal or physical — interferes with the victim’s ability to work or creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile workplace.

If you believe that you are being sexually harassed at work, the first step is to speak to an experienced attorney about your situation. He or she can help determine if your employer or coworker’s actions meet the standard for sexual harassment, explain the law, and guide you through the process of asserting your rights.

Know the Laws that Protect Workers

There are several laws that protect New Yorkers from workplace sexual harassment. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the Act) is a federal law that protects workers in every state from gender discrimination. A federal agency called the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigates allegations of sexual harassment made under the Act. The Act also gives victims of sexual harassment the right to sue their employer in federal court. Employers with 15 or more employees are subject the Act.

Two other laws, the New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws, offer similar protections to the federal law. These two laws, however, apply to employers with four or more employees, and therefore protect more employees from discrimination and harassment than federal law. If you have questions about what laws might protect you, contact an experienced attorney.

Take Action

If you are being sexually harassed, there are several steps you can take. Keep track of every incident that you believe constitutes sexual harassment, and report the actions to management or your human resources department. Also, speak to an experienced attorney right away. By law, you have a limited amount of time from the date of the harassment to take action, usually 180 days. An experienced attorney can help you with your case and recommend an appropriate plan.

If appropriate, your attorney will help you file a complaint with the EEOC, which is a prerequisite to filing suit in federal court. The EEOC may recommend mediation or investigate your claim. Having a lawyer on your side will help the process go smoothly. If the EEOC issues a right to sue letter, you may file suit against your employer in either federal or state court. Successful plaintiffs can seek compensatory and punitive damages.

Trust Your Case to Experienced Lawyers

You do not have to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace. If you think you are the victim of sexual harassment, contact the New York sexual harassment attorneys at Phillips & Associates through our website or by calling (212) 248-7431.