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New York City Sexual Harassment Laws

Gender Discrimination Attorneys for Residents of New York City

There are many state and federal laws that provide workplace protections for employees, particularly when it comes to sexual harassment. We all hope to feel safe and at ease in our workplace, but many employers fail to adhere to these laws, leading to a hostile and unproductive environment. Due to the sensitive nature of these situations, deciding to come forward and try to hold your employer responsible can be a difficult and stressful step to take. The sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates can advise employees in New York City and the surrounding area on bringing these claims.

New York City Protections Against Harassment in the Workplace

Like other cities across the country, New York City experiences many incidences of sexual harassment in the workplace. It has enacted a Human Rights Law, which provides remedies for employees who experience sexual harassment. The New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) can be found at Title 8 of the Administrative Code. According to its provisions, an employee cannot be treated unfairly or differently due to his or her sex, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, pregnancy, or disability. The laws were drawn from a lengthy series of court opinions on the subject of sexual harassment, and they were codified in order to ensure that their requirements could be enforced uniformly and efficiently. The person making the complaint does not need to have been the subject of the sexual harassment. Simply observing instances of sexual harassment in the workplace can create difficulties for everyone in the office.

According to the New York City Human Rights Law, sexual harassment encompasses many different situations and conditions. In general, sexual harassment under the law involves any unwanted sexual advances or unwelcome conduct that affects an individual’s employment in a negative way. This includes any verbal, physical, or visual displays. The law further defines sexual harassment in two categories. First, sexual harassment can lead to a hostile work environment. This may occur when unwanted sexual behavior or comments create an unpleasant, intimidating, or offensive business atmosphere, or interfere with the employee’s job performance to an unreasonable degree. For example, sexually suggestive innuendos, sexual jokes, and physical gestures may lead to a hostile work environment.

Where an employee seeks to establish a hostile work environment, the employee must prove all of the following:

  • A member of a protected class experienced unwelcome harassment;
  • The harassment was of a sexual nature;
  • The nature of the harassment affected a condition, term, or privilege of employment;
  • The conduct was severe and pervasive; and
  • The employer knew or should have known that the harassment occurred and failed to take appropriate remedial action.

The second category of sexual harassment includes so-called “quid pro quo” arrangements. In this situation, an employer or employer’s agent requests a sexual favor from an employee in exchange for some employment-related consequence. The consequence can either be positive in nature, such as a promotion, or negative, such as a threat of being fired if the employee refuses. If the employee refuses the sexual advance and is fired, demoted, or given a reduced workload as a result, the employee has suffered workplace retaliation. New York law provides protections for employees who are retaliated against after asserting a protected right, like the right to be free from sexual harassment in the workplace.

Contact a New York City Lawyer for a Sexual Harassment Claim

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual harassment in a New York City workplace, the gender discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates can help. Our team of professionals has represented many employees throughout all five boroughs, including the Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens, in bringing a claim against an employer for violations of New York City’s sexual harassment laws. We offer a free consultation and do not collect any fees unless we obtain a settlement or a judgment in your favor. Call us now at (212) 248-7431 or contact us online to set up your appointment.

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