Sexual Assault in the Workplace
New York City Lawyers Representing Workplace Harassment Victims
Sexual assault violates the victim's personal space. It involves unwanted touching, kissing, hugging, groping, or even rape. When sexual assault occurs in the workplace or is perpetrated by a coworker or supervisor, you are likely entitled to damages. If you are subject to sexual assault in the workplace, you should consult an experienced New York City sexual harassment lawyer at Phillips & Associates. Our employment law firm has recovered millions of dollars for its clients who were victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace. We can also attempt to seek a confidential settlement and/or file with a state or local agency if you are hesitant about moving forward with an actual lawsuit.
Sexual Assault in the Workplace
Sexual assault is a type of sexual harassment. Other types may involve words or verbal abuse rather than physical touching. It can include sexually explicit conversations, emails, texts and requests for nude photos. It may also include requests for sexual favors. The perpetrator exposing themselves to you or forcibly making you perform sex acts. The sexual harassment is often committed by a person in power whether it be the owner, the President of the company, a CEO, CFO or other supervisor or manager. The sexual assault or harassment can also come from a co-worker. All employees in New York City are entitled to work in an environment free from sexual assault and harassment. Federal, state, and local laws prohibit sexual harassment. The employment law firm of Phillips & Associates can help you stand up for your rights in the workplace. We can assist you with drafting your complaint of discrimination, so your employer and try to rectify the sexual harassment. If your employer fails to correct the sexually hostile work environment or retaliates against you, our employment attorneys can help you file a claim.
The federal law prohibiting sexual harassment is Title VII. It only covers employers that have 15 or more employees. All domestic workers are also protected against sexual assault and sexual harassment by an employer. In most cases, there are more expansive remedies under state or local laws than under federal laws. With regard to sexual harassment, the New York State Human Rights Law covers all employers regardless of how many employees they have.
Sexual assault is a form of harassment, whether it occurs between men and women, between people of the same sex, or when the victim is transgender.
Sexual Assault as Hostile Work Environment
Sexual assault can be considered a form of hostile work environment harassment. These are sexual acts and words that are directed toward a worker due to their sex. It can be perpetrated by either a coworker or a supervisor. A hostile work environment can be created through a very severe episode of sexual assault or multiple instances of assault that add up to something larger.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment
Sexual assault can also occur as quid pro quo harassment, in which an authority figure in the workplace tries to trade job benefits for sexual favors. The job benefits could include hiring, promotion, or non-termination of any other privilege of employment. However, only supervisors or managers have the authority to perpetrate quid pro quo harassment. Coworkers do not have the authority necessary to promise benefits. Often times the victim succumbs to the harassment and feels they have to provide sex or sexual favors to their boss or supervisor in order to keep their job. That is ok. You may still have a case of sexual harassment. Don’t blame yourself or talk yourself into believing the sex was consensual if it wasn’t. You may also experience termination, demotion or other form of retaliation for not providing sex or sexual favors. An employment law firm can assist in analyzing your specific situation and provide you with guidance on how to proceed.
Liability for Sexual Assault
Employers can be held strictly liable for sexual assault committed by a high-level manager. For example, if you are raped by a manager, but nobody else knows about it, your employer can be held liable by a sexual harassment attorney.
Employers can be strictly liable for sexual assault committed by a supervisor or lower-level manager if that person has enough control over the victim's working conditions. For example, if your direct supervisor groped you during a performance review, you could hold your employer responsible for that.
Employers may be liable for assault by coworkers if an employer knew or should have known about the harassment. Knowledge that you provide to a supervisor or manager is imputed to the employer. This means that if you advised your manager that a coworker was harassing you, but your employer did nothing, and then your coworker raped you at the office holiday party, you could hold your employer responsible. However, if your coworker raped you at work, you told your manager, and he immediately terminated the coworker, it is unlikely that your employer would be liable. In such a situation, the employer is liable if it is negligent about stopping further or continued harassment.
Damages for Sexual Assault
You may be able to recover damages for sexual assault from the employer by bringing a charge or lawsuit. If you are pursuing your employment claim under federal law, you must initially pursue a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. However, you can proceed in court directly under state or local laws. Sexual harassment laws are complex and provide for certain damages depending on the statute. An employment law firm can explain what damages are available under federal, state and local law. Phillips & Associates offers free consultations. Additionally, there is no upfront payment. There are no attorney fees due unless we recover damages for you.
Consult a New York City Attorney Following an Incident of Sexual Assault
At Phillips & Associates, we understand how humiliating and frightening it is to be sexually assaulted in the workplace. We know you may be hesitant to report the sexual harassment or sexual assault. Our attorneys may be able to develop a strategy to pursue damages from your employer. We fight employment discrimination and sexual harassment in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island—all five boroughs of New York City—as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties. We also assist victims of sexual assault and harassment in Westchester, New Jersey and Philadelphia. Contact us at (866) 229-9441 or complete our online form.
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