If you are a victim of sexual harassment at your workplace on Long Island, you might be entitled to bring a lawsuit and recover compensation for your losses.
The sexual harassment lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP can guide you through the process of filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the New York State Division of Human Rights. We can also file a lawsuit to seek compensation. We will listen to you and we will stand up to your employer or others who have violated your rights.
Potential Compensation for Sexual Harassment in a Long Island Workplace
When seeking compensation for sexual harassment, many losses could entitle you to financial recovery. Just because you cannot physically see the harm of sexual harassment doesn’t mean it hurts a victim any less. Victims can suffer a range of losses. This is especially so when sexual harassment affects their work performance or chances for promotion.
When we handle your case, we may seek compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses, such as therapy and medication
- Lost wages if you missed work due to the effects of sexual harassment
- Bonuses or commissions the sexual harassment forced you to miss
- Health benefits, retirement, and pension benefits if you were fired due to sexual harassment
- Vacation or sick pay
- Pain and suffering
- Attorney’s fees
There may be more damages you can seek depending on whether you file a complaint with state and federal agencies or pursue a civil lawsuit.
Federal Caps on Compensation
When you file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), caps limit the amount of compensation you can seek. This could affect compensatory and punitive damages, depending on the size of the employer’s company.
- $50,000 for companies with 15-100 employees
- $100,000 for companies with 101-200 employees
- $200,000 for companies with 201-500 employees
- $300,000 for companies with more than 500 employees
Sexual Harassment Violates New York and Federal Laws
Sexual harassment is an unlawful practice that violates federal law, including:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Parts of the Civil Rights Law of 1991
- The New York State Human Rights Law
It is unlawful to harass a job applicant or an employee because of that person’s sex or subject them to sexual harassment based on orientation. The EEOC says “sexual harassment” includes:
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Requests for sexual favors
- Other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature
The law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not serious. However, the EEOC says that harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it:
- Creates a hostile or offensive work environment
- Results in an adverse employment decision, such as a victim being fired or demoted
How Sexual Harassment Occurs in the Workplace
Sexual harassment in the workplace may take several forms, and the victim may be an employee or a job applicant. The person responsible for sexual harassment may be a supervisor, a co-worker, or even someone who is not an employee. Often the harasser is in a position of power or authority over the victim.
Who the Perpetrator of Sexual Harassment Could Be
The victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be of the same sex. The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct. The harasser may be:
- The victim’s supervisor
- A supervisor in another area
- A co-worker
- Someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer
New York’s Legal Definition of Sexual Harassment
New York defines sexual harassment in the workplace as any unwelcome sexual advance or a request for sexual favors. They also note that other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature is sexual harassment.
Sexual Harassment in Your Workplace Might Have Looked Like This
Examples of sexual harassment could include:
- Demands for sexual favors as a condition for employment, promotion, raises, or bonuses
- Inappropriate and unwanted touching or other lewd conduct
- Vulgar or profane remarks directed toward you
Conditions that create a hostile workplace could include:
- Offensive jokes, slurs, epithets, or name-calling
- Physical assaults or threats
- Ridicule, mockery, insults, or put-downs
- Offensive objects or pictures
- Interference with work performance
Taking a Stand Against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
A victim of sexual harassment in a New York workplace may have recourse through complaints filed with the New York State Division of Human Rights and the U.S. EEOC.
Filing a complaint through these government programs can be complicated and confusing. This can be particularly true for an individual dealing with an exasperating and potentially embarrassing situation.
However, the sexual harassment laws enforced by the EEOC require filing discrimination charges with the EEOC before filing a job discrimination lawsuit against an employer. In addition, there are time limits for filing a charge with the EEOC and with the N.Y. Division of Human Rights.
Sexual Harassment By a Supervisor
Sexual harassment in the workplace is bad enough under any circumstances. However, it is particularly troublesome when it comes from a supervisor. Workplace supervisors have direct control over employees’ duties and activities. Supervisors also influence employment evaluations and employees’ opportunities for advancement and promotion.
Sexual harassment can be defined as any harmful or annoying conduct motivated by the sex of the employee. This type of gender discrimination may be perpetrated by co-workers or even non-employees, such as clients of a firm.
However, it is frequently committed by individuals in positions of authority or power over the victims. Sexual harassment from a supervisor puts an employee in a particularly difficult position.
Examples of Supervisor Sexual Harassment
A supervisor commits sexual harassment when the following occur:
- Unwelcome sexual advances from a boss or supervisor
- Sexually suggestive comments, emails, or text messages
- Requests from a supervisor or boss for sexual favors
- Uninvited comments about an employee’s appearance, dress or physique
- Intimate questions or underhanded remarks about an individual’s sexual history
- Offensive remarks about an employee’s gender
- Sending sexually explicit pictures
- Harassing conduct through notes, email, and telephone contact
- Employment decisions conditioned on sexual favors
- Rewarding employees who tolerate or allow sexual harassment
- Withholding benefits or promotion from employees who reject sexual advances
- Threatening termination or demotion for employees who report sexual harassment
- Retaliating against employees who cooperate in investigations of sexual harassment allegations
- Creating or tolerating a hostile work environment in which inappropriate sexual behavior occurs
How Our Sexual Harassment Lawyers Can Help
Our Long Island sexual harassment lawyer can assist you with your sexual harassment complaint at all levels, from state to federa. You could seek damages from the person or organization responsible for the harassment.
Our sexual harassment lawyers can ensure that your complaint at the state and federal level is filed on time and is a complete account of your case. We will then be in a position to help you pursue a legal complaint against your harasser. At that point, you could obtain compensation.
Some of the ways we can help include:
Investigating Your Case
Sometimes, an instance of sexual harassment in the workplace reveals a history of similar behavior. When we investigate your case, we may use past complaints as evidence.
We may also find that the company culture nurtured an environment for sexual harassment, which may make the organization itself liable. We will leave no stone unturned when gathering evidence for your case.
Calculating Your Losses
When we handle your case, we will accurately account for the ways your experience of sexual harassment at a Long Island workplace affected you. We can call upon the testimony of medical experts and economists to help assign a value to your losses. These could include both economic and non-economic damages.
File a Lawsuit Against the Liable Party
Once we file the proper complaints, we may also file a lawsuit to seek compensation against a liable party. We are prepared to negotiate a settlement or represent you at a trial to seek a court-awarded offer. Our aim is for you to suffer no further loss as a result of your experience.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace has Severe Consequnces
Sexual harassment in the workplace can have devastating effects on victims’ professional lives, according to the National Academy of Sciences. Harassment can result in victims being blocked from promotions or leaving their jobs entirely.
The Perpetrator Could Have the Victim Fired
Others face termination if they do not comply with sexual requests. Often, bystanders are also negatively affected just by witnessing the harassment. So, bystanders may suffer similar issues as the victims in their professional lives.
The Victim Could Suffer Psychological Consequences
Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace do not only suffer professionally, though. The experience often deteriorates their mental health, and many go on to develop depression and anxiety. Some victims will require therapy and medication to cope with the psychological consequences of sexual harassment.
No one deserves to endure unwanted sexual advances or exploitation while going to work. Few victims report their experiences due to fear of retaliation that may lead them to lose their jobs.
If this is happening to you, we want to help you seek justice for your losses. You have a right to legal representation when you make a formal complaint or file a lawsuit. We can handle your case with the care it deserves.
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP will Stand By Your Side
If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace or are the victim of sexual harassment based on orientation, you have a friend in us. Reach out to our team for a sympathetic ear at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP. Call us now at (516) 358-6900.
For a free legal consultation with a sexual harassment lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-358-6900