Sexual Harassment in Grad School

least civil learning environment as they strive for degrees and do post-doctoral work.

Graduate students are protected by the same anti-discrimination, anti-harassment laws that protect employees. In New York, these include:

  • The State Human Rights Law
  • New York City’s Human Rights Law

Also included are two federal laws:

  • Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972
  • Title VII of the Civil rights Act of 1964

Recent cases at Columbia University in New York City seem to indicate that the school should remind itself both of the requirements under those laws and of its obligation to protect vulnerable students from sexual harassment by professors in positions of relative power.

In one case, two female students accused a human rights professor of touching them inappropriately and of refusing to give them recommendations when they rejected his sexual advances.

In another, a male student Alberto Leguina  from Chile accused Qais Al-Awqati  his well-known lab supervisor and professor of making advances through Grindr, a smartphone application for gay and bisexual men. When the student rejected the professor’s advances and sought advice and help through another professor and through human resources, he faced delay and obfuscation until — months later — the professor who had originally sexually harassed him, fired him and left him no choice but to return to Chile in order to continue his studies.

In some ways, sexual harassment of students by professors can be even more devastating than workplace sexual harassment. Professors are in the position to deny students important recommendations and referrals, as well as giving them poor grades or even failing them in important college courses. This denies students the sound basis they need as they begin their professional lives. Student victims of sexual harassment should consult anti-discrimination and anti-harassment lawyers experienced in representing students in order to protect their ongoing education and burgeoning careers.

 The Employment Law firm of the Derek T. Smith Law Group has some of the most experienced New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyers ready to assist you in your sexual harassment case. Our attorneys offer a free consultation and charge no fee unless they recover for you in your sexual harassment case. Sexual harassment is illegal and no employee or student should have to suffer through unwanted advances at work or school. Call today at  877-469-5297 or contact us online to have your case review

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