Simply engaging in a consensual sexual or personal relationship with your superior is typically not considered sexual harassment in New York. However, such behavior may not comply with company Human Resources policies regarding office romances. Be certain to check all company handbooks regarding their specific rules, which are designed to limit liability for employers in case an employee makes a claim for harassment or retaliation. Companies are in the business to protect themselves from employment-related lawsuits.
Of course, there are other reasons engaging in a relationship with your boss might be bad news. It could create tensions between you and your co-workers. The romance might blur start to blur professional boundaries. If the relationship turns sour, it is bound to create an uncomfortable working environment.
In some instances, inter-office relationships do cross certain legal as well as ethical lines. Your relationship may be considered sexual harassment or gender discrimination in New York if:
- You are fired or demoted after ending the relationship
- You were harassed after ending the relationship
- You were forced into having sex
- Your relationship was non-consensual, or more specifically unwelcome
- You were promised special treatment, a raise or promotion if you agreed to have a relationship with your boss
- Your boss threatened to fire or demote you if you did not sleep with him or her
- Your colleagues may complain of gender discrimination if you receive special treatment or favors due to your relationship
If you have experienced unfair treatment or harassment due to a relationship with your superior or co-worker, speak with a sexual harassment attorney in New York City to learn about your rights. There are laws on books to protect victims of harassment and retaliation.
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 800-807-2209 for a free consultation or contact us online.