Sexual Gift Giving
Sexual harassment can have devastating professional and emotional consequences. Most people associate this behavior with verbal overtures or physical touching. However, when coworkers or supervisors give inappropriate sexual or romantic gifts, this can also be a form of harassment depending on the situation. This illegal conduct is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the Administrative Code of the City of New York 8-1901. The employment discrimination lawyers of Phillips & Associates understand the humiliation and discomfort that sexual gift giving can cause. We can help you seek compensation if you have been subject to harassment at a New York workplace.Inappropriate Gifts
There are two types of actionable sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo behavior occurs when a coworker or supervisor conditions an employment decision, such as promotion, demotion, termination, or salary raise, on submitting to sexual advances or other misconduct. A hostile work environment is usually created by a pattern of sexually charged conduct in the workplace, rather than a single instance, unless the single instance is very severe.
Gift giving can fall into either category. For example, if your supervisor gets you lingerie for a Secret Santa exchange at the holiday party and suggests in the card that you will be fired if you don't go out with him, it is likely that the courts will see this gift giving as quid pro quo sexual harassment. Other personal gifts that are inappropriate or may cross the line are some types of gag gifts, cosmetics, soaps, jewelry, perfume, and love poetry.
Gift giving that is repeated and unwanted may create a hostile work environment. Sexual harassers often give gifts under the guise of humor or expressing romantic intentions. However, if you let the harasser know this is unacceptable and he or she persists, you should report it to your employer. You should also consult an experienced sexual harassment lawyer.
It can be confusing when a consensual relationship between coworkers or between an employee and supervisor ends. In some cases, one of the two people may give gifts hoping to win the other person back. However, if you inform your coworker or supervisor or boss that you no longer want to be in a romantic relationship and ask him or her to stop, he or she has to stop making advances. A harasser that continues to give you gifts after you have expressed they are unwelcome may violate federal, state, and local laws.Protect Your Rights from Sexual Harassment by Enlisting a New York Lawyer
It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing an internal grievance or filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about the sexual harassment you experience in a New York workplace. However, after you file a complaint, it can be emotionally challenging and uncomfortable to be on the job. An experienced attorney can help make sure you file a grievance appropriately and seek the damages you deserve after dealing with sexual harassment. Contact Phillips & Associates at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form.