Workplace sexual harassment is humiliating and degrading. In addition to emotional harm, it can also result in financial losses. If you were subjected to sexual harassment at your job, you may be able to sue to recover damages. There are three laws that may apply to your situation: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law. Our New York City sexual harassment lawyers can help you bring a claim under any of these laws that may apply. You can watch the video above to learn more about sexual harassment and your rights.Sexual Harassment Under Title VII
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination in workplaces of employers that have at least 15 employees. Under Title VII, sexual harassment may include requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, offensive remarks about someone's sex, groping, touching, images, and more. Sexual harassment can occur even if the victim and harasser are the same sex. Although many people assume that harassers are men, a harasser may be a man or woman.
Teasing and offhand remarks are not prohibited. Instead, sexual harassment must be so severe or so frequent that it creates an offensive or hostile work environment, or results in a negative employment decision, such as a victim being demoted or fired. A harasser who creates a hostile work environment can be a supervisor, a manager, a coworker, or even a customer.
Sexual harassment can also be quid pro quo harassment when an authority figure in the workplace, such as a supervisor or manager, tries to exchange benefits for sexual favors. The benefits offered might be hiring, continued employment, a promotion, a raise, or some other change in the terms and conditions of employment.Sexual Harassment Under State Law
The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits sexual harassment with regard to employers of all sizes. Even an employer with just one employee is not permitted to engage in sexual harassment of that employee. Under the state law, employers can be held strictly liable for employee harassment when the harasser is a high-level manager or owner. Even if other owners and managers are unaware of the harassment, the employer can be held responsible. Employers can only be held strictly liable for harassment by a lower-level manager or supervisor when the supervisor has enough control over the victim's work conditions.
The situation is different for employers if a coworker is the person who perpetrated the harassment. In that case, you can hold the employer liable only if the employer knew or should have known that you were being harassed. In other words, you would need to show the employer's negligence in stopping the harassment. It is important, therefore, to make sure that you let the employer know in writing that you were sexually harassed. That way, you can show notice if the employer does not correct the situation, and you need to sue for harassment.Sexual Harassment Under the New York City Human Rights Law
Sexual harassment is prohibited as a form of gender discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law, which is one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country. Under the city law, your attorney can hold a New York City employer liable for illegal discrimination or sexual harassment by an employee if the harasser had supervisory or managerial responsibility, the employer knew about the harassment and did not take appropriate, immediate corrective steps, or the employer should have known about the discrimination and failed to use reasonable diligence to stop it.Get Advice from an Experienced Employment Attorney in New York City
Our firm understands how stressful and difficult it is to face workplace sexual harassment. If you believe that you have been subjected to sexual harassment at your job, you should consult the employment lawyers at Phillips & Associates. Contact our firm at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form for a free consultation. We handle employment litigation throughout New York City, as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.