Phillips & Associates

Sexual Harassment in the Media Industry

Gender Discrimination Lawyers Assisting Residents of New York City

Although newspapers, magazines, and television news programs often focus on sexual harassment in other workplaces, it is still a pervasive presence in the media industry. At Phillips & Associates, our sexual harassment attorneys understand that people in New York City and elsewhere may be fearful of reporting unlawful conduct by a colleague or employer. We offer thorough, compassionate, and aggressive representation in asserting the rights of employees.

Holding an Employer in the Media Industry Liable for Improper Conduct

Sexual harassment is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, New York State’s Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law. Under Title VII, a federal law, sexual harassment is a type of discrimination that happens on the job due to the victim's gender. However, both men and women may be victims of this behavior. Sexual harassment may include a coworker asking for sex, a boss using sexual bribery, a cameraman who engages in sexist comments, or unlawful touching by anyone in the workplace. In some cases, it can also include inappropriate behavior by those being interviewed for a news story.

Title VII claims are investigated and handled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In order to bring a lawsuit for damages, you would first need to file a charge with the EEOC within 180 days from the date of the harassment. This deadline is extended to 300 days when state or local anti-discrimination laws also cover the charge.

Usually it is helpful to consult with an experienced lawyer before filing a charge. After investigating the situation, the EEOC may choose to ask the employer to participate in conciliation. If this does not resolve the problem, the agency may sue the employer in federal court. In other cases, the EEOC may dismiss the charge, which does not necessarily reflect the merits of the case. A dismissal leaves the victim free to pursue his or her own sexual harassment lawsuit for damages. During the discovery process, further evidence supporting the victim's claims may turn up.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace is Illegal.

There are two forms of sexual harassment in the workplace: hostile work environment and quid pro quo harassment. The former tends to be more common than the latter. A hostile work environment exists if sexual misconduct or comments are either very severe or so pervasive that they interfere with your ability to do your job. For example, if the crew repeatedly makes unwelcome sexual comments to a news anchor before she goes on air, and the employer does nothing to stop it, this is likely a hostile work environment. However, offhand remarks or lighthearted teasing generally do not amount to a hostile work environment.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs if an authority figure, such as a producer, offers to take or not take an employment action if an employee performs a sexual favor. For example, if the editor at a magazine says he will give a journalist a desirable assignment for sleeping with him, this would be considered quid pro quo sexual harassment. Similarly, if an interviewee offers to give a reporter a bigger scoop if he has sex with her, and the employer encourages the reporter to follow through, this probably would also be quid pro quo sexual harassment.

You likely will be entitled to recover damages if you have been sexually harassed. In general, you should first notify HR or your employer of the wrongful conduct to see if proper steps are taken to stop it. In some cases, filing a report about sexual harassment leads to employer retaliation, which is also illegal and may give rise to further damages.

Protect Yourself from Sexual Harassment by Consulting a New York City Attorney

All too often, sexual harassment in the media industry goes unreported and unaddressed because victims worry they will be ostracized if they speak out. The only way to rectify this problem within the industry is to report harassment and pursue damages. You should consult a knowledgeable gender discrimination lawyer if your rights have been infringed in a New York City workplace. Call Phillips & Associates at (212) 248-7431 or contact us through our online form for a free consultation. We serve employees across the five boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. We also handle sexual harassment cases in Westchester County and Long Island.

PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES
45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day.The other associates that assisted Brittany were Yusha Hiraman, Eugenio Benvenuto and Katerina Housos. They were all professional and answered any questions or concerns that I had. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done. Massimo
★★★★★
Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues. Karen
★★★★★
I was a client with this law firm. I can't stress enough how awesome and professional the people are here. Silvia & Erica made me feel so comfortable and welcome. I never had to guess anything. Anytime I call, emailed, or even texted. They were always there. If not they would get back to me as soon as possible. My case was not an easy situation for me but I tell you these guys made it seem like it was. I'm so glad that I use Phillip & Phillip. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful to have met such awesome, honest, and caring people. Thank you again. Djuana
★★★★★
I highly recommend Parisis (Gerry) Fillippatos with Phillips & Associates to represent you for employment related matters. He and his team were professional, attentive to every detail and brilliant at identifying the legal grounds to win the case. Parisis's communication and delivery were highly articulate and precise. He is personable and makes you feel comfortable in the maze of legal jargon. Finally, his confidence, perseverance and masterful negotiation skills deliver the win. Anonymous
★★★★★
I had an excellent experience with this team! Thanks, Marjorie, Brittany, and Candy for your great support and prompt answers to all my questions. I highly recommend this firm. This team works very hard and I am extremely happy with the results. Ana