Workplace Sexual Advances on Long Island
Nassau County is a suburban county on the western end of Long Island. It is made up of two cities, three towns, and more than 120 incorporated villages and unincorporated hamlets. Nassau County is one of the most affluent and also expensive counties in the country. It is home to many industries and employers of varying sizes. Workplace sexual harassment is illegal in Nassau County. Under the New York State Human Rights Law, no employer is permitted to sanction or perpetrate sexual harassment against an employee. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment by employers that have at least 15 employees. At Phillips & Associates, our experienced Nassau County sexual harassment lawyers may be able to help victims of sexual harassment sue for damages.Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
There are two forms of actionable sexual harassment: quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. The former occurs if a supervisor, manager, officer of the company, or other person with authority in the workplace tries to exchange job perks for sexual favors or makes acquiescence to sexual conduct a condition of employment. For example, if the CEO of your company says that you could be promoted if you have sex with him, this would be quid pro quo harassment. People of either sex can perpetrate or be victims of this type of harassment.
Hostile work environment harassment includes offensive conduct that is so pervasive or so severe that it alters the terms and conditions of employment. This type of harassment may include physical violence or intimidation, but it can also include jokes, pranks, statements, propositions, gestures, or graphic images that are directed at you because of your sex or that are of a sexual nature. A sexual harassment attorney can help Nassau County employees determine whether a hostile work environment has arisen.
Generally, to be actionable, hostile work environment harassment cannot be trivial or consist of isolated incidents. The harassment must be both subjectively humiliating or discomfiting to you or interfere with your job performance, and it must also be objectively objectionable. In other words, you will need to show that an ordinary and reasonable person in similar circumstances would have been similarly offended. Supervisors, managers, customers, clients, or coworkers can engage in this type of harassment. As with quid pro quo harassment, perpetrators can be of either sex, and victims can also be of either sex. The harassment can be between same-sex people or opposite-sex people. In New York, sexual harassment that happens because a victim is transgender is also illegal.Liability for Sexual Harassment
Under state law, employers can be held strictly liable for harassing an employee when the owner or a high-level manager is doing the harassing. For example, if a manager who is on the Board of Directors keeps sending you emails with pornographic images attached, the company can be liable even if the other owners or managers did not know about it. Employers can also be strictly liable for lower-level manager or supervisor actions, but only when the supervisor has enough control over your working conditions. A Nassau County sexual harassment attorney can help determine whom you should include in your claim.
A company can be liable for harassment by coworkers under state law when the employer knew or should have known about the harassment. The issue is whether the employer was negligent about preventing or stopping the harassment. You should always report sexual harassment through the channels advised in your employment handbook (assuming that you have a handbook). The critical issue in cases involving employees who are of the same stature is whether the employer responded appropriately.Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
You may be able to recover damages for sexual harassment under Title VII if your employer has 15 or more employees. There are some differences between how sexual harassment is evaluated under Title VII and under the New York State Human Rights Law, which makes it important to work closely with an attorney who has the experience to understand not only which law or laws would support your claim but also under which law you are most likely to obtain the maximum recovery. For example, compensatory and punitive damages are capped under Title VII, based on the size of your employer. On the other hand, punitive damages are not available under the New York State Human Rights Law.Consult an Experienced Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Nassau County
At Phillips & Associates, we may be able to help you obtain damages if you were subjected to sexual harassment at a job in Nassau County. We offer free consultations. There are no upfront fees and we accept cases on a contingency basis, which means that you will not need to pay attorneys' fees unless we recover damages in your case. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form.
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