Sexual Gift-Giving at Work | New York City Sexual Harassment Attorneys
Your New York harassment attorney helps establish appropriate professional boundaries
When a present from a co-worker crosses the line, you may be entering sexual harassment territory. Giving someone sexually explicit gifts at work is not only unseemly, it might be illegal. It may create a hostile work environment. You may be entitled to compensation if you have received numerous gifts that are romantic and sexual in nature, depending on the circumstances.
At the Derek Smith Law Group, we know sexual harassment is not just a nuisance at work. It is not just “part of the job.” Sexual harassment can have devastating professional and psychological effects. That’s why we relentlessly pursue compensation for those who have been afflicted.
Inappropriate ‘gag’ gifts in the Workplace
Office parties, Secret Santa and other gift exchanges are prime opportunities for sexual harassment. You should know that sexually-themed ‘gag’ gifts are not appropriate in the workplace, and may constitute sexual harassment. Harassers may offer sexually explicit presents under the guise of humor. In some instances, your colleague may simply have been trying to be funny. They may have made a one-time mistake that could be brushed off as a lapse in judgment. However, someone may offer you a sexually explicit ‘gag’ gift with the express intent of making you feel intimidated, uncomfortable and even afraid.
‘Gag’ gifts may include adult toys, adult-themed games, pornography or any renderings that depict nudity or a sexual act. If someone offers you an offensive present, first let them know this kind of behavior is unacceptable. You may tell your supervisor or Human Resources representative. If the behavior persists and your employer does not take action to stop it, you should speak with a sexual harassment attorney knowledgeable about New York City workplace sexual harassment laws.
Personal and romantic presents
Your colleague regularly offers personal gifts, despite your declaration that it makes you uncomfortable. Romantic gifts are given to you with repeated requests for dates, advances which you rebuff. A bouquet of roses came to your desk with a sexually explicit note attached. A single occurrence of these events is probably not severe enough to be considered sexual harassment. However, if you are repeatedly presented with romantic gifts at work, which create a hostile work environment, it could be grounds for legal action.
Other personal gifts that may not be appropriate for the workplace are:
- Romantic jewelry
- Personal care products
Again, your first course of action after receiving an objectionable gift is to let the person know you feel offended and embarrassed by their behavior. If the person does not respond favorably, escalate the situation to an attorney.
Get a New York Sexual Harassment Attorney on your side
When sexual harassment at work starts negatively affecting your professional and personal life, contact the New York employment attorneys at the Derek T. Smith Law Group. For years, we have fought back against unfair treatment in the workplace. Call us today at 877-469-5297. Our sexual harassment lawyers serve clients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island and throughout the state of New York. We also represent employees sexual harassment cases in New Jersey, Pennsylvania & Washington D.C.
For more information on New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania labor & employment laws, and other types of Sexual Harassment and Employment Discrimination visit our New York City Employment Law Blog