Sexting and Sexual Harassment at Your NYC Workplace

Giving your personal cell phone number to colleagues can be helpful for exchanging work-related information — or it can be a pathway to sexual harassment.

Sexting is a term used to describe the act of sending or receiving sexually explicit text messages. Sexts may be written messages, photos or video of a sexual nature. While welcome sexy texts exchanged between two consenting co-workers is not harassment, unwanted sexting may be grounds for legal action. If you are being harassed via text message, or via social media, speak with an NYC lawyer to learn more about your legal options.

By example, the NYPD was sued by one of its police officers for $30 million in damages related to some inappropriate sexts sent by her supervisor. Specifically, the supervisor deluged her with photographs of his genitals and other suggestive sexts such as “I wish I was strapped to ur leg after seeing you in those tights. LOL.”

It can be more difficult for employers to defend cases in which an employee alleges sexual harassment by a supervisor rather than by a co-worker. If an employee alleges that the employee was subjected to a hostile work environment based on sexts sent by a co-worker, the employer is only liable if the employer knew or should have known about the textual harassment.

If your boss is the harasser, pursing a lawsuit may be easier, but you still face challenges. Remember to keep all evidence of harassment, including all texts, emails, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram activity.

If you believe someone is asking for your personal mobile number for unscrupulous reasons, stand your ground and refuse. Supervisors may offer their cell phone number for completely legitimate reasons — to contact him or her in case of emergency, by example — so do not automatically assume their intentions are illicit. However, if the nature of the conversations turns inappropriate, let the other person the behavior is unwelcome.

The Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC handles a multitude of cases that involve sexual harassment in New York City. For further information, please feel free to call us at 212-587-0760 or toll-free at 1-877-4NYLAWS or email at


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