Phillips & Associates

Sexual Harassment in a Law Firm

Employment Rights Attorneys Assisting People in New York City

Although many lawyers are aware of anti-discrimination laws, there is still sexual harassment in the legal industry in New York City. If you have been sexually harassed by your boss or a coworker at a law firm, you may be understandably concerned about complaining to HR. You may be concerned about your reputation and your ability to get another job. However, it is important to hold lawyers and other people in law firms accountable for their misconduct. An experienced New York City sexual harassment attorney may be able to help you do that. At Phillips & Associates, we work hard to help employees harmed by law firm sexual harassment.

Law Firm Sexual Harassment

Workplace sexual harassment can consist of offensive remarks, jokes, innuendoes, requests, touching, groping, or even rape. While most people think of sexual harassment as including a reference to sex, some sexual harassment is actionable that involves repeated remarks about a particular gender or sex.

Sexual harassment comes in two recognized types. The first is quid pro quo sexual harassment. This occurs when an authority figure tries to exchange workplace benefits or privileges for sexual favors from a subordinate. For example, if a partner says that he will help you advance to partner while you are an associate, in exchange for a one-night stand, this would be quid pro quo harassment. The other type of sexual harassment is hostile work environment harassment. This occurs when harassing words or behavior are either so pervasive or so severe that they create an environment that a reasonable person would find hostile or offensive. A trivial remark is not enough to count as hostile work environment harassment. However, if a coworker makes rude remarks about your body or sends around pornographic emails on a regular basis, these may be enough to create a hostile work environment.

Drinking and Law Firm Harassment

Many law firms have a strong drinking culture that may be coupled with what is known as bonding, team building, or networking. Up to 36% of lawyers can be considered problem drinkers. While not all sexual harassment is a result of alcohol abuse, a significant percentage of it is. One Cornell University study has found that workplace sexual harassment goes up if alcohol is involved. Often, the harassment involves men directing offensive remarks toward women in contexts involving drinking and permissive attitudes. Lawyers who drink heavily at office parties may lose their inhibitions, and they may abuse or sexually harass their coworkers or subordinates.

When sexual harassment is ongoing, the harassment victim may also increase consumption of alcohol. The victim may be trying to escape psychological distress, depression, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, vulnerability, and a feeling of helplessness. This can pose difficulties when trying to recover damages because the employer is likely to argue that the victim's alcohol consumption clouded their judgment or recollection of what happened. It is important to retain a New York City attorney who is committed to sexual harassment victims and can investigate what happened to skillfully counter such an argument.

Damages for Sexual Harassment

Damages that you may be able to recover include back pay, out-of-pocket costs, emotional distress, and punitive damages. If you have been terminated, you may be entitled to reinstatement, but in the context of sexual harassment, the relationship between employer and employee can become so badly frayed that a working relationship is not viable. In that case, you may be better off trying to recover front pay. The law that you use to bring your sexual harassment lawsuit can have an impact on the scope and amount of damages. For example, if you bring your claim under Title VII, there is a cap on compensatory and punitive damages. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with an experienced sexual harassment attorney early in your case to determine a strategy for recovery.

Seek Assistance from a New York City Lawyer Following Law Firm Sexual Harassment

At Phillips & Associates, we fight law firm sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct on the job, and we may be able to help you recover damages. We represent people in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Westchester County, and New Jersey. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form.

45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107
Client Reviews
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 was a client with this law firm. I can't stress enough how awesome and professional the people are here. Silvia & Erica made me feel so comfortable and welcome. I never had to guess anything. Anytime I call, emailed, or even texted. They were always there. If not they would get back to me as soon as possible. My case was not an easy situation for me but I tell you these guys made it seem like it was. I'm so glad that I use Phillip & Phillip. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful to have met such awesome, honest, and caring people. Thank you again. Djuana
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