Phillips & Associates

I was Sexually Harassed at an Office Holiday Party. What Should I do?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited by federal, state, and local law. Laws that protect workers from sexual harassment also reach beyond daily workplace activities to work-related parties or events. The New York sexual harassment attorneys at Phillips & Associates can help victims of sexual harassment. If you have been sexually harassed at an office holiday party, contact our office for a free consultation. In the meantime, follow these steps to ensure that you protect your rights.

Understand What Constitutes Sexual Harassment

Inappropriate behavior at holiday parties has the potential of creating a hostile work environment for non-supervisory employees. The types of behavior that may constitute sexual harassment are endless. Some possibilities that may be more likely to occur at holiday parties are:

  • Forcing co-workers to kiss under mistletoe;
  • Giving sexually inappropriate gifts;
  • Making people play games that lead to embarrassing questions or physical contact;
  • Unwelcome physical touching; or
  • Propositioning co-workers for sexual acts

As a general rule, any behavior that would be inappropriate at work may be inappropriate at a holiday party, and could create a hostile work environment. If alcohol is served at the party, it may increase the likelihood that inappropriate actions occur. Although one passing instance may not reach the level of a hostile work environment, a pattern of offenses or one egregious act could. If you are unsure whether you have been sexually harassed, contact an experienced attorney.

Keep Track of All Incidents, Even Outside of Work

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment at a holiday party, keep track of each incident, and, if possible, report it to your supervisor or the human resources department. Remember that sexual harassment can occur outside the walls of your office, so just because your office holiday party was held elsewhere, it does not excuse sexually harassing behavior. It is still illegal.

Know the Laws that Protect You

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the primary federal law that protects workers from sexual harassment because it is a form of gender discrimination. To make a claim under this law, you must first report your employer or coworker’s actions to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This agency will investigate your claim, and, if appropriate, issue you a right to sue in federal court.

New York state and New York City also have passed laws that prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace. These laws offer protection to employees of small businesses with as few as four employees. If you are unsure what laws may protect you, consult a knowledgeable employment discrimination attorney.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

The holidays should be a time to have fun with friends, family, and coworkers. Although most holiday parties pass without a problem, it is unfair and illegal for employees to be sexually harassed at a work event. The New York sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates have experience helping New Yorkers who have been sexually harassed at work or at an office holiday party. If you believe that you are the victim of sexual harassment at a work holiday party, fill out our online contact form or call (212) 248-7431.

PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES
45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I called at Phillips & Associates seeking for a consultation and I was very pleased with the conversation I had with Eugenio Benvenuto. He was able to answer my questions thoroughly and gave me reassurance. I highly recommend their practice. Giulia
★★★★★
Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day.The other associates that assisted Brittany were Yusha Hiraman, Eugenio Benvenuto and Katerina Housos. They were all professional and answered any questions or concerns that I had. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done. Massimo
★★★★★
Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues. Karen
★★★★★
I highly recommend Parisis (Gerry) Fillippatos with Phillips & Associates to represent you for employment related matters. He and his team were professional, attentive to every detail and brilliant at identifying the legal grounds to win the case. Parisis's communication and delivery were highly articulate and precise. He is personable and makes you feel comfortable in the maze of legal jargon. Finally, his confidence, perseverance and masterful negotiation skills deliver the win. Anonymous
★★★★★
I had an excellent experience with this team! Thanks, Marjorie, Brittany, and Candy for your great support and prompt answers to all my questions. I highly recommend this firm. This team works very hard and I am extremely happy with the results. Ana