Is Sexual Harassment Discrimination?

Sexual harassment is discrimination. It is a gender based discrimination that is rooted in the fact that you are a woman or that you are a man. It is the offensive comments or touchings that are unwelcome, that are of a either sexual nature or a romantic nature. And it is a violation of both city, state, and federal law to be sexually harassed.

Employment Lawyers Advising New York City Workers

People who are subjected to sexual harassment at work or in a job interview are likely to suffer emotional distress. It is not uncommon for victims of sexual harassment to experience emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, grief, isolation, loss of self-esteem, fear, and shock. Often, these emotions manifest in physical symptoms. If you have been harassed and are wondering if sexual harassment is discrimination that provides you with grounds to sue, the New York City sexual harassment attorneys at Phillips & Associates can help you seek damages. Watch the video on this page and explore the description below to find out more about these claims.

Is Sexual Harassment Discrimination?

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that is prohibited by federal, state, and local laws. Discrimination includes any adverse or unfavorable action taken against you based on a protected characteristic. Everyone has the right to go to their place of work and be free from harassing comments or conduct based on a protected characteristic, like their gender.

Prohibited harassment includes: unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical actions that unreasonably affect an individual's employment or work performance. Sexual harassment may occur in the form of words, words coupled with actions, or unwanted touching. For example, harassment might include a supervisor or coworker making regular comments to a female employee regarding how sexy she is and asking for dates. It might even involve a coworker grabbing genitalia at a work function or holiday party. A minor, one-off incident, such as a negative comment about women in general, probably does not rise to the level of harassment.

Sexual harassment may happen even if the worker is not terminated and does not suffer any other concrete economic harm, such as hiring, firing, or demotion. However, the harasser's conduct needs to be unwanted, and it will help your case if you tell the harasser directly that you do not welcome their conduct, and they need to stop.

You should also use any grievance system that your employer has in place. Often, this system may be found in an employment handbook. If you do not use the system in place, your employer may use this fact as evidence against your case, should you proceed with litigation. Employers are supposed to communicate to their employees that sexual harassment is not tolerated and provide sexual harassment training to prevent it from occurring. When an employer does not have adequate policies in place or does not implement them, these failures may hurt its defense against a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a New York City attorney.

The harasser and the victim may each be of either sex or gender, and they do not need to be opposite sex. The perpetrator of the harassment may be a supervisor, a coworker, or even a customer or client. Victims of harassment may include not only a person being harassed by coworkers but also others affected by the harassment.

Contact a Sexual Harassment Attorney in New York City

If you face harassment on the job and have been wondering about whether sexual harassment is discrimination, you should consult an employment discrimination attorney about your particular situation. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City sexual harassment lawyers provide vigorous representation for employees who have suffered harm as a result of workplace misconduct. Contact us at (866) 229-9441 or use our online form to set up a free consultation. We fight discrimination in Staten Island, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Westchester as well as Suffolk and Nassau Counties.