Sexual harassment in the workplace in New York City is when an employee or job applicant receives unwelcomed sexual contact or hears comments and is harassed in a sexual manner by his or her fellow employee, supervisor, manager, company CEO or any person associated with his or her place of business. This is not only highly unethical; it is illegal. The Derek Smith Law Group has worked for over 25 years helping victims, like yourself, who have been victimized by sexual harassment in the workplace receive the justice they so rightly deserve.
What Is Sexual Harassment in New York City?
Sexual Harassment in New York City is illegal. It is the unwanted sexual advances and comments of a sexual nature that is orchestrated by an employer, manager, supervisor, co-worker, and business associate against an employee or job applicant. This can come in the form of verbal comments, physical acts of a sexual nature, retaliation, wrongful termination, or a hostile work environment of any type brought on by unwanted sexual advances.
Sexual harassment in New York City comes in two forms.
This means “this for that.” In other words, this is a favor for a favor, or favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something. In this type of sex harassment, the victim must choose between accepting or submitting to sexual advances and suffering one or more employment-related consequences. For example, New York City workplace harassment would fall into the quid pro quo category if an employee suffered a pay cut, was denied a promotion or was fired upon the refusal of a date, one or more requests for a sexual favor, or other sexual advances. On the other hand, if an employee received a raise, bonus, or promotion only after fulfilling certain sexual requests, it could also be considered workplace sexual harassment under New York State and New York City law.
A hostile work environment claim for sexual harassment is when an employee is subject to unwelcome behaviors such as sexual comments or actions of a sexual nature that create an intimidating, unpleasant, or offensive business atmosphere, and/or unreasonably interfere with his or her job performance. Examples of actions that may cause a hostile work environment include offensive comments, inappropriate materials or graffiti, sexually suggestive innuendos, jokes that are sexual in nature, sexual social media posts, sexual gestures and/or unwanted physical touching.
In situations involving sexual harassment as a hostile work environment, an employee or group of employees must prove that the following conditions were met:
- An employee or job applicant was subjected to unwelcome harassment
- The harassment was sexual in nature
- The harassment affected a term, condition, or privilege of employment
- The conduct was severe and pervasive
- The employer was or should have been aware of the harassment and did not take necessary remedial action (the employer took no action at all, took insufficient action, or exacerbated the problem)
Sexual harassment is illegal through federal laws and local laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers of 15 or more employees, co-workers, supervisors, and others associated with a company from sexually harassing employees or job applicants. This falls under the rights regarding gender discrimination and sex, as these types of issues are directly related to an individual’s gender and sex.
The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits employers of 4 or more employees and those associated with a company from conducting sex-based discrimination, such as sexual harassment, against an employee or job applicant.
Workplace Sexual harassment typically consists of numerous incidents. Keeping a detailed and accurate written log, or diary, of the incidents will help prove your claim of sexual harassment. This log will provide evidence of what took place and when. It’s important to include every detail, no matter how minor or how personal. Victims should be keeping the following notes about each incident to help make their case:
- Each specific incident, including the time and date of all details
- All the people directly and indirectly involved
- Offensive conversations or remarks
- Emails or memos you have received
- Complaints you made, when, to whom, what you said and the response
- Any reactions to the alleged sexual harassment
- How the incident made you feel
- How the incident affected work performance
- How the incident affected your general well-being
Sexual harassment in the workplace can take many forms. It can be sexual advances, unwanted sexual advances, jokes that are sexual in nature, and much more. Here are some examples of sexual harassment in New York City:
- Co-Worker sexual harassment
- Unwelcomed requests for sex or sexual acts
- Criminal sexual conduct in the workplace
- Gay and/or Lesbian unwelcomed requests for sex or sexual acts
- Non Employee sexual harassment
- Same Sex sexual harassment
- Sexism in the workplace such as comments and culture that include stereotypical sex roles (i.e. “the woman’s place is in the kitchen”)
- Sexual bribery in which an employee or job applicant is promised workplace advancements in exchange for sexual favors
- Giving or receiving sex-based gifts
- Sexual harassment at off-site company events
- Sexual joking, including posting of comics in a workplace that are sexual in nature
- Sexual Orientation Harassment
- Stalking in the workplace
- Supervisor or Manager sexual harassment
- Unwanted Physical Contact
- Sexual Coercion
- Non-consensual sexual behavior, such as forced sex or sex acts or rape
- Refusal to give a pay raise to an employee based on his or her sex
- Refusal to give a promotion to an employee based on his or her sex
- Refusal to hire a job applicant based on his or her sex
- Refusal to allow an employee the opportunity to work on a particular project because of his or her sex
- Non-employee sexual harassment, such as sexual harassment from a client or vendor
- Wrongful termination based on the refusal to give in to sexual advances or for disagreeing with the culture of sexual harassment in the office
- Retaliation against a person for refusing sexual advances
Sexual harassment in the workplace can happen outside of the workplace as well. If you are at a company-sponsored event or even out with co-workers and other company personnel, any of the above can be considered sexual harassment if it is unwanted and unwelcomed.
Sexual harassment can be between people of different sexes or the same sex and can victimize both men and women.
Title VII is governed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC provides a time limit of 300 days or an employee or job applicant to file a claim for sexual harassment in the workplace in New York City. Once the claim is filed, the EEOC will investigate the claim and issue a Right to Sue letter is there is enough evidence to suggest you have a legitimate sexual harassment claim.
The New York City Human Rights Law is governed by the New York City Human Rights Commission (NYCHRC). The time limit to file a claim with the NYCHRC for sexual harassment in the workplace is three years as sexual harassment is protected under the rules of gender-based harassment. The NYCHRC will investigate the claim and issue a Right to Sue letter to allow you to file your complaint in state court.
If an employee is the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, there are several remedies available through the court:
- Termination of individuals who committed sexual harassment
- Reinstatement of employment
- Attorney’s fees
- Reimbursement of back pay
- Reimbursement of benefit premiums
- Future pay
- Reimbursement of expenses related to the claim, such as medical expenses
- Attorney’s fees
- Damages for emotional distress
- Punitive damages designed to punish the employer. These damages can be based on the size of the employer, the nature of the actions, and whether this behavior has occurred before.
The courts in New York City look very unfavorably at employers that sexually harass employees and job applicants. Therefore, it is in the employer’s best interest to avoid going to court if possible. Hopefully, that means the defense attorney will work to negotiate a settlement with the employee or job applicant before the case ever goes to trial. If the case never goes to trial, it will likely take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to settle after the Right to Sue letter is issued.
In some cases, the employer may have a policy to not settle these types of lawsuits or may wish to go to trial. If that is the case, the lawsuit process can take anywhere from a year or longer from the time the Right to Sue letter is received. The process takes longer because there is more involved to even get to the trial date, let alone the actual time a trial may take, which is usually between a few days and a couple of weeks.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment in your New York City workplace, you should begin to take action immediately. Before you file your claim with the proper agency, there are a few steps you should take to help your case.
- If you have not been terminated or quit, do not leave your job. Leaving your job will hurt your case.
- Begin to collect evidence. Start to document everything. Include the date the incident occurred, who was involved, what happened, and who witnessed the incident.
- If your company has an HR department, file a claim of sexual harassment.
- If your company has policies and procedures to help deal with sexual harassment, follow the described protocol described.
- Hire a sexual harassment attorney
All employees deserve to work in an environment free from sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, criminal sexual harassment, and retaliation because of denied sexual advances. If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, the experienced sexual harassment attorneys at Derek Smith Law Group in New York City are here to help you. Contact us today at (212) 587-0760 for your free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.
Different Types of Sexual Harassment Cases We Handle:
- Hostile Work Environment
- Quid Pro Quo
- Unwelcome Request For Sex
- Sexism in the Workplace
- Sexual Bribery
- Sexual Gift-Giving at Work
- Sexual Harassment by a Supervisor
- Workplace Sexual Coercion
- Non-Employee Sexual Harassment
- Gay and Lesbian Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Harassment at Off-Site Events
- Stalking in the Workplace
- Criminal Sexual Conduct
- Sexual Joking
- Co-Worker Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Orientation Harassment
- Unwanted Physical Contact
- Same-Sex Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Harassment at Office Holiday Parties
For more information on sexual harassment in the workplace, read our employment law blog:
- Reasons for Victims of Sexual Harassment Would Refuse To Report It
- Three NYC Sexual Harassment Myths Debunked By HR Personnel
- 5 Ways to Recognize Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
- Reporting Sexual Harassment in New York: The Value of Speaking Up
- The Five R’s of Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
- Do I Have a Sexual Harassment Case in New York City?
- Can Sexual Harassment Occur Online?