Long Island Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
Long Island consists of four counties, including Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Its largest employers include Northwell Health, the State of New York, Catholic Health Services, the federal government, Winthrop-University Hospital, Long Island Railroad, and Stop and Save. Sexual harassment on the job can be degrading and humiliating. Actionable sexual harassment falls into two categories: quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. Usually, quid pro quo harassment is only perpetrated by authority figures in the workplace. However, coworkers, customers, and clients, in addition to supervisors and managers, can perpetrate hostile work environment harassment. If you face hostile work environment sexual harassment at your job, you should consult the Long Island sexual harassment attorneys at Phillips & Associates.Identifying Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
Hostile work environment sexual harassment is prohibited at Long Island workplaces under both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State Human Rights Law. In many important ways, the state law mirrors the federal law. However, there are nuances to these laws that make it important to consult an attorney about whether you have a claim.
A hostile work environment exists when: (1) the workplace is permeated with discriminatory actions that are either so severe or so pervasive that they change the work conditions, and (2) there is a specific basis for imputing the conduct that caused the hostile environment to the employer.
Usually, hostile work environment claims involve discriminatory actions, images, or words over a period of time, instead of a single, discrete occurrence. However, if the discrete occurrence is severe, rather than trivial, it can create a hostile work environment. The Eastern District of New York has stated that a single episode of contact with an intimate body part is enough to establish a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim. For example, if a coworker fondled your breasts, and your employer does nothing to respond to your complaint, this could count as actionable hostile work environment sexual harassment.
The conduct that you claim was hostile work environment sexual harassment must be subjectively offensive and abusive to you. Moreover, it must be objectively severe or pervasive. The environment must be abusive due to your sex. State law also explicitly protects you from a hostile work environment created due to your sexual orientation or gender identity.
Whether actions create a hostile work environment requires an analysis of the totality of the circumstances. Factors to be considered include how often the harassing actions happened, how severe they were, whether the actions were physically threatening or offensive, whether they would unreasonably interfere with an employee's work performance, and what psychological harm would result. Title VII does not require any concrete psychological harm to find hostile work environment harassment. In other words, the distress need not lead to a nervous breakdown to be actionable. Each situation is different, and it is important to consult an experienced attorney about the specifics of yours.
If you are faced with unwelcome sexual conduct, you should let the harasser or harassers know that the actions are unwelcome. You should also use any grievance procedures set forth in your employment handbook. Assuming that there is actionable harassment, a plaintiff alleging a hostile work environment must demonstrate that there is a legal reason to impute the harassing conduct to the employer.
Under federal law, when a harasser is a victim's coworker, the employer will only be liable if it was negligent in how it handled the situation. However, if a supervisor's harassing conduct culminated in a concrete employment action, such as demotion or termination, the employer can be held strictly liable for the hostile work environment that the supervisor created. When there is no concrete action, an employer may raise as a defense that it used reasonable care to stop the harassing behavior, but you unreasonably failed to take advantage of the preventive or corrective opportunities that the employer provided.Consult an Experienced Sexual Harassment Lawyer on Long Island
At Phillips & Associates, we may be able to help you obtain damages if you were subjected to hostile work environment sexual harassment on Long Island. We offer free consultations. There are no upfront fees, and we accept cases on a contingency basis, which means that you will not be asked to pay attorneys' fees unless we recover damages for you. Contact us at (516) 226-7329 or through our online form.
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