What is Considered Sexual Harassment at Work?
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in New York, you may be entitled to bring a lawsuit and recover compensation for your losses.
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.
The Long Island sexual harassment lawyers at The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, can help you if you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. If you have a valid claim, we can help 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 develop a lawsuit to seek compensation.
We understand the difficult emotions surrounding a sexual harassment complaint. We will listen to you and we will stand up to your employer or others who have violated your rights. You will quickly come to know that you can trust the attorneys at Cohen & Jaffe to look after your interests. We are ready to fight for you.
Contact our Long Island sexual harassment lawyer today for a free consultation.
For a free legal consultation with a sexual harassment lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-358-6900
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 and parts of the Civil Rights Law of 1991, as well as the New York State Human Rights Law.
It is unlawful to harass a job applicant or an employee because of that person’s sex, in a sexual manner or subject them to sexual harassment based on orientation. The EEOC says “sexual harassment” includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments or isolated incidents that are not serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision, such as a victim being fired or demoted, the EEOC says.
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, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
The State of New York defines sexual harassment in the workplace as any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual. 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 may be determined to 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.
Long Island Sexual Harassment Lawyer Near Me 516-358-6900
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, as well as with the U.S. EEOC.
These government programs can be complicated and confusing, particularly for an individual who is dealing with an exasperating and potentially embarrassing situation, and who is not used to a government bureaucracy. However, the sexual harassment laws enforced by the EEOC require filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC before you may file 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, but it is particularly troublesome when it comes from a supervisor. Workplace supervisors have direct control over employees’ duties and activities, as well as their employment evaluations, and therefore their opportunities for advancement and promotion.
Sexual harassment can be defined as harmful or annoying conduct motivated by the sex of the employee – a type of gender discrimination. It 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
- 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.
Supervisor Sexual Harassment and the Law
Supervisor sexual harassment violates federal, state and New York City law. It is unlawful under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is also unlawful under the State of New York Human Rights Law and under Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York.
It is a violation of law to harass an employee or someone applying for a job in a sexual manner or because of that person’s gender. Sexual harassment includes requests for sexual favors, sexual advances, and any physical or verbal harassment of a sexual nature.
Harassment can be perpetrated by a male or female boss or supervisor, and the victim can be of the same or the opposite sex. The law does not necessarily apply to an offhand comment or isolated minor incident or remark. However, when the behavior becomes severe or frequent enough to affect employment decisions, such as firing or demoting an employee, or to create a hostile work environment, then it may be considered sexual harassment and a violation of the law.
Employees and job applicants in the state of New York have recourse for supervisor sexual harassment. They can file complaints with the New York State Division of Human Rights and with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In New York City, victims can also file complaints with the NYC Commission on Human Rights.
These various complaint processes can be complicated, confusing and slow-moving, as they involve government agencies and bureaucracies. However, it is a requirement that you must file a complaint with the EEOC before filing a civil lawsuit for violations of the laws enforced by the EEOC.
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We’re on your Side
Our Long Island sexual harassment lawyer can assist you with your sexual harassment complaint at all levels, from seeking action from your employer, the State of New York and the EEOC, to seeking 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 and convincing account of your case. We will then be in a position to help you pursue a legal complaint against your harasser to obtain compensation and send a message to those who harassed you – as well as to others who would act in a similar inappropriate manner.
Are you the Target of Sexual Harassment? We will Stand by you
If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, or are the victim of sexual harassment based on orientation, you have a friend and a sympathetic ear at The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP. Call us now or fill out our online contact form and we will respond to you immediately.