I Am Being Sexually Harassed at Work – Can I Sue?
All employees have the right to a safe, secure and pleasant working environment. No one should have to endure unwelcome sexual advances, lewd comments or inappropriate gestures and touching in the workplace. If it is happening to you, you deserve a way out. You deserve proper compensation for your emotional trauma and lost income. But how do you know if you have the basis of a lawsuit?
What constitutes sexual harassment in New York?
To sue, the behavior you experience must legally constitute sexual harassment. According to the EEOC, sexual harassment includes requests for sexual favors, sexual advances or other sexual conduct when:
- Submission to the foregoing conduct is an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment. This means you are expected to accept the sexual conduct as part of the job. By example, you were told being exposed to vulgar remarks on the trading room floor is just part of the business.
- Acceptance or rejection of the foregoing conduct was used as the basis for an employment decision impacting the victim. In other words, you will suffer a negative consequence if you do not give into the sexual advance, or there is a positive incentive for yielding to the advance. For instance, your boss fires you for not sleeping with him, or promises a promotion if you do sleep with him.
- The foregoing conduct had the purpose or effect of interfering with the victim’s work performance, or creating an intimidating or hostile work environment. If you are in distress, are made to feel uncomfortable or your work product suffers due to the harassment, it may constitute a hostile work environment. For example, even after you have said ‘no’ several times, a co-worker continues to ask you out on dates.
The conduct can meet one or more of the three above requirements to legally be considered sexual harassment. As long as the behavior is ‘unwelcome,’ you may use it as the basis of a lawsuit. However, only an attorney experienced in harassment law can give you the full scope of whether you should pursue a legal claim, and what compensation you may receive.
The New York Employment attorneys at 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 contact us online.