Tollbooth Employees face Sexual Harassment at Work

NY/NJ – Sexual harassment during tollbooth visits appears to be a common action driver engaged in on the road. Employees working in New York and New Jersey tollbooths explained they endure sexual harassment on a regular basis. Although tollbooth employees prefer to work in an environment that’s free from sexual harassment, it’s nearly impossible to prevent unpredictable behavior from occurring at work.

Individuals who work directly with the public may have a higher chance of being exposed to sexual harassment considering they come in contact with individuals from all over the place. It’s hard to penalize an individual for sexual harassment when the harasser changes daily. There are some individuals who sexually harass tollbooth employees regularly especially if they take the same route every day. In the event that this happens, the best option an employee has is to alert a supervisor of the sexual harassment pattern and attempt to capture the harasser in action.

There was one particular Holland Tunnel tollbooth employee named Ayanna Chisholm who recently shared her experience with sexual harassment throughout her four years with the company. In addition to working at Holland Tunnel tollbooth, Chisholm said she has worked at other tollbooths in New Jersey as well. Chisholm claims she has endured sexual comments, sexual glances, inappropriate gestures from men on motorcycles, and exposure to private parts, in addition to other unspecified sexual actions.

Chisholm said she has tried to several different methods to make herself appear less attractive to the public. Individuals who would sexually harass her enjoyed “stroking her palm.” Harassers know the chances of getting away with sexually harassing tollbooth employees are high since the employees are in contact with hundreds of drivers on a daily basis, and it becomes extremely difficult to identify a harasser. According to tollbooth employees, the company has surveillance cameras on the cash registers and directed toward the license plate to capture vehicles that attempt to escape their toll payment.
Presently, Chisholm is a 26-year old college student studying Criminal Justice in New York City in addition to working at the tollbooth. Chisholm expressed that she already suffers from sexual harassment while she walks down the street, and then she is indirectly forced to deal with the unethical behavior when she goes to work. A life filled with unwanted sexual advances and physical and verbal misconduct began to affect Chisholm in a negative manner. Chisholm said, “I feel degraded.”
Due to the decrease in cash tolls, most employees are not working at the tollbooths simultaneously. The majority of the remaining employees are women. Some employees are part-time and others are full times. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey offers their tollbooth employees a flexible work schedule, which attracts a lot of employees to the position.

Why are employees afraid of reporting sexual harassment?

The outcome of reporting sexual remains unknown according to the work environment. Although employees are supposed to feel comfortable with informing an individual in the Human Resources division about any work-related issue they experience, employees are aware that the HR staff may not respond accordingly. In addition to possibly receiving a negative response, employees are afraid of retaliation that could lead to losing their job.

Terminating employees for reporting sexual harassment is illegal according to the employment laws enforced by the federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. However, employees still struggle with remaining employed when sexual harassment allegations hit the surface. Another reason tollbooth employees prefer not to report sexual harassment is their employer’s style of tolerating sexual harassment, “the grin and bear it culture,” even if the sexual harassment can be deemed criminal sexual conduct.

The president of the Bridge and Tunnel Officers Association stated, “It’s something you become numb to.” The high volume of sexual harassment incidents allegedly makes it impossible to put a stop to sexual misconduct. Out of 2,000 toll employees, nearly 50% of the employees are working women in the New York City area. If an employer indirectly expects you to accept workplace sexual harassment, seek a sexual harassment lawyer for assistance with your sexual harassment complaint.

Seek a Sexual Harassment Lawyer

Current and former New York City region employees have previously expressed that they created various methods including gaining weight and changing attire to appear less appealing to the public. It’s hard to ascertain a solution to unwelcome physical and verbal advances, especially when an employer’s perspective on the subject is completely different from the victim’s view.
Let one of our sexual harassment lawyers review your sexual harassment case and deliver the solution you’re searching for at work.