Westchester County Sexual Harassment
About 52% of Westchester County residents identify as female. The median household income of Westchester County in the span from 2012-2016 was $86,000. Sexual harassment is forbidden in New York workplaces, no matter how large or small they are. State law prohibits workplace sexual harassment even if an employer has only one employee. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits sexual harassment, but the employer must have a minimum of 15 employees. There are other differences between these laws, and you should consult the experienced trial attorneys at Phillips & Associates if you believe that you are being sexually harassed. Our Westchester County sexual harassment lawyers have experience taking sexual harassment cases and other employment disputes to trial.Forms of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can consist of many different negative activities directed at an employee because of his or her sex. It can include derogatory remarks, offensive memes, gestures, insults, groping, touching, threats, jokes, propositions, graphic images, intimidation, or even rape. It can be quid pro quo harassment if an authority figure in the workplace tries to exchange job benefits for sexual favors. For example, if your supervisor tells you to give him a blowjob or he will fire you, this is quid pro quo harassment. If you refuse and you are terminated, you may have the basis of a wrongful termination lawsuit.
It can be hostile work environment harassment if harassing conduct is so severe or so pervasive that it changes the terms and conditions of your job. Hostile work environment harassment can be perpetrated by a customer, client, coworker, supervisor, or manager, or all of these. It can occur when the harasser and the perpetrator are the same sex or opposite sexes. In order for you to recover damages, the harassment must have been subjectively offensive to you, and it must also have been objectively offensive. That is, an ordinary, reasonable person who experienced the same behavior would have been offended. A sexual harassment attorney in Westchester County can help you collect evidence to prove this claim.
Under the New York State Human Rights Law, an employer can be strictly liable for harassing an employee if the harasser is a high-level manager, or the owner is performing the harassment. For example, if the Vice President of your company keeps touching you in inappropriate places and gives you a dildo as a Christmas present as a 'joke' at the office holiday party, the company can be held liable regardless of whether other high-level managers or corporate officers knew about that behavior.
However, if your harasser is a coworker, customer, or client, you must give notice to your employer according to the grievance procedures specified in your employment handbook. If no grievance procedures are specified, you should report what happened in writing to HR. Your employer can be liable for the actions of coworkers under the New York State Human Rights Law if it knew or should have known about the harassment but did not take steps to stop or prevent it.Retaliation
Our Westchester County sexual harassment attorneys understand that you may fear the consequences of taking action. However, it is illegal for your employer or any of its agents to retaliate against you for filing a sexual harassment claim in good faith, either internally, with an anti-discrimination agency, or through litigation. Filing a sexual harassment claim, whether informally or formally, is considered a protected activity. Moreover, anyone who testifies for you or assists in a sexual harassment investigation is also engaging in a protected activity under the New York State Human Rights Law. Other protected activities include encouraging a coworker to report sexual harassment or complaining about the sexual harassment of another employee.Differences in Remedies
There are situations in which it may be appropriate to bring your sexual harassment lawsuit under Title VII rather than state law because there are differences in the remedies offered, among other differences between the laws. For example, punitive damages are not available under the state law. By contrast, Title VII caps punitive and compensatory damages based on the employer's size.Retain a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Westchester County
At Phillips & Associates, our experienced attorneys help people who have faced sexual harassment on the job in Westchester County. If you believe that you have been a victim of sexual harassment, you can contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form for a free consultation. We represent clients in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, and White Plains.