In the workplace, it is unlawful to harass an applicant or employee because of that individual’s sex, gender, or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment can occur in the workplace under a variety of conditions, but in general, it involves any unwanted sexual advances or any sort of conduct which negatively affects an individual’s employment.

What is considered sexual harassment at work? Examples of unwelcome sexual advances which include requests for sexual favors, requests to go on a date, suggestive remarks, flirting, unwanted touching (such as pinching, patting, rubbing, or purposefully brushing up against another person), telling lewd jokes, or sharing sexual anecdotes. Sex harassment can also include other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature, including text messages, displaying graphic photos, and emails.

There are many federal protections under Title VII and other federal statutes. Under federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964, sexual harassment is considered a form of gender discrimination because it is harassing conduct that occurs because of an individual’s gender. The EEOC defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”

Moreover, anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment because both the harasser and the victim being harassed can be either a woman or a man, and the harasser and victim can be of the same sex too.

To raise to a level of unlawfulness, the sexual harassment must reach a certain intensity as the law doesn’t prohibit offhand comments, simple teasing, or isolated incidents that are not as serious. The harassment becomes illegal when it is so “frequent” or so “severe” that it creates a “hostile work environment” or when it results in retaliation. (

Retaliation includes punishing job applicants or employees for asserting their rights to be free from employment discrimination, including being free of sexual harassment. Asserting these rights is called “protected activity,” and it can take many forms such as having your attorney file with the EEOC, submitting a lawsuit, resisting sexual advances, or making complaints.

Also, New York State and New York City law provides additional protections against sexual harassment in the workplace. Furthermore, Federal, State, and City laws prohibit retaliation too.

If you feel like you need help or a way out contact the experienced New York City sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC. Our attorneys have years of experience litigating claims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Working together with our Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys, we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients who were discriminated against because of their gender. If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your gender, please give our attorneys a call at (800) 807-2209 for a free consultation.