Supervisor Sexual Harassment in Nassau County
Women make up a very slight majority in Nassau County, which is known as one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. About 50,000 businesses make their home there, and some of the largest employers are in industries such as health care and education. After being sexually harassed by a supervisor, you may feel humiliated, degraded, and afraid for your job. It can be particularly intimidating to be treated as a sexual object by an authority figure in the workplace. Understandably, you may be concerned about being demoted, transferred to a less prestigious department, given less desirable assignments, or terminated. Or you may fear retaliation if you complain. At Phillips & Associates, our Nassau County sexual harassment lawyers understand how distressing and embarrassing this experience can be for our clients, and we provide aggressive legal representation.Liability for Supervisor Sexual Harassment
You can hold your employer strictly liable for harassment by an owner or high-level manager under the New York State Human Rights Law. In fact, if an owner or manager harasses you, and nobody else knows, the employer will still be held strictly liable. Employers are only strictly liable for a supervisor's sexual harassment if the supervisor has enough control over the victim's working conditions. However, if you complain about sexual harassment to any supervisor or manager, that supervisor or manager's knowledge is considered the employer's knowledge. For example, if your direct supervisor touches you inappropriately and keeps asking you out, even though you have said no, and you let your friend, a supervisor in another department, know that this happened, the knowledge is imputed to the employer.Quid Pro Quo Versus Hostile Work Environment Harassment
A supervisor's sexual harassment of you may be quid pro quo harassment or hostile work environment harassment. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a supervisor makes submitting to sexual demands a term or condition of employment. For example, if your supervisor puts his hand on your leg and says that you can only keep your job if you have sex with him, that is quid pro quo harassment. Similarly, if your supervisor says that he will give you a glowing performance review in return for a date, that would be quid pro quo harassment.
However, a supervisor can also create a hostile work environment through words or actions. Offensive actions or words must be so severe or pervasive that the workplace becomes hostile. A trivial or one-off remark by a supervisor may not be enough to constitute a hostile work environment. However, being sexually assaulted or touched inappropriately by your supervisor may be sufficient to create a hostile work environment. The question is whether the offensive conduct or words were such that a reasonable person in your situation would have found them to have created a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment.
Under federal case law, an employer can avoid liability for a supervisor's sexual harassment if it shows that the employer used reasonable care to promptly prevent and correct any sexually harassing conduct, but the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of the corrective and preventive opportunities that were offered.Retaliation
It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for reporting supervisor sexual harassment or sex discrimination under both federal and state laws. To prove retaliation under federal law, your attorney must show that you were involved in protected activity, the defendant knew of your involvement, you experienced a negative employment action, and there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the negative employment action. If you present this prima facie case, the burden shifts to the defendant to articulate that it had a nondiscriminatory and valid basis for taking the negative action. After that, you still can prevail if you can show that but for your participation in the protected activity, you would not have suffered a negative employment action.Hire a Knowledgeable Nassau County Attorney for a Sexual Harassment Claim
At Phillips & Associates, our attorneys can evaluate your situation to determine whether you have a basis to sue for sexual harassment by a supervisor or a coworker at your job. Call us at (516) 365-3731 or contact us online for a free consultation. Our clients pay no upfront fees because we work on a contingency fee basis.
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