Sexual Harassment in the Hiring Process
When you are looking for a new job, your gender should play no part in a prospective employer’s decision. Federal, state, and city laws prohibit engaging in forms of discrimination like sexual harassment during the hiring process. A company that breaks these laws may be subject to civil liability. If a New York employer treated you improperly when you applied for a job, the sexual harassment lawyers of Phillips & Associates can help protect your rights.Employers Cannot Sexually Harass Prospective Employees
Gender discrimination in the workplace and in the hiring process is categorically prohibited. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination and is therefore also illegal.
Job applicants may encounter two different types of harassment. If an employer offers a prospective employee an employment benefit in exchange for some sort of sexual act, this is unlawful quid pro quo harassment. An example could be an employer who promises to hire an individual only if she’ll go on a date with him. In general, any offered benefit, such as a higher starting salary or more vacation time, traded for a romantic or sexual favor may constitute quid pro quo harassment.
Another type of impermissible treatment is called hostile work environment harassment. This type of behavior occurs when an employer engages in conduct that is intimidating, hostile, or offensive to a reasonable person. A single event is usually not enough to create a hostile work environment unless the behavior is egregious, such as a sexual assault. This claim more often arises when less severe harassment occurs so repeatedly that it interferes with a person’s ability to work.
A prospective employee who has been sexually harassed may be entitled to compensatory damages for emotional distress and any financial damages that resulted from the illegal behavior. In some extreme cases, successful plaintiffs may also be entitled to punitive damages.Laws Protecting Job Applicants
On the federal side, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of gender, including sexual harassment, during the hiring process. Any employer with 15 or more employees is subject to this law. The New York State and New York City Human Rights Acts also both ban sexual harassment and gender discrimination against job applicants. The benefit of these laws, moreover, is that they apply to entities with as few as four employees. A prospective worker who was sexually harassed may choose which of the federal, state, and city laws to use as a basis for a claim, depending on the circumstances of his or her case.
If a person suspects that a prospective employer has committed illegal sexual harassment, the first step is to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This agency will investigate the situation and either take action itself or issue the employee a Right to Sue, at which point he or she can bring a lawsuit in federal or state court.Lawyers Holding New York Employers Accountable for Discrimination
Some companies may choose to ignore the law, but prospective employees do not have to tolerate sexual harassment while looking for a job in New York. If you are a victim of this illegal conduct, an employment discrimination attorney at Phillips & Associates can evaluate your case and seek the compensation to which you may be entitled. Call (212) 248-7431 or visit our contact page to schedule a free and confidential consultation.