No matter your gender or sexual orientation, you have the right to be free from sexual harassment and discrimination. If you are suffering from harassment in the workplace, you need an attorney who can advocate for you. Bantle & Levy LLP is that firm.

What is Considered Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual or physical conduct directed at one employee by another. This can include sexual advances, inappropriate joking, touching, requesting sexual favors, and other types of harassment. State, city, and federal laws protect employees from harassment in the workplace. In addition, employees are protected from discrimination or retaliation for filing a harassment claim.

Under federal law, for this harassment to be unlawful, the conduct must be unwelcome, and severe or pervasive. However, New York City law does not require that the conduct must be severe or pervasive to be actionable. This is why you need a well-versed New York lawyer who can determine if it is best to use federal, city, and/or state laws in your claim.

Who is Liable Under Sexual Harassment Claims?

Under the federal sexual harassment law, an employer is liable if the employer had prior knowledge of the wrongdoing but failed to correct it.

However, New York State and New York City laws are different. Under these laws, owners, supervisors, and managers are individually liable if they create or condone harassment or a hostile work environment.

Hostile Work Environment and Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Federal and state law distinguishes two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environments.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment essentially means “this for that.” This type of harassment occurs when an employee feels he or she must go along with the harassment in exchange for opportunities, such as a promotion or a salary increase. An employee may also feel pressured to accept the harassment to protect themselves from adverse actions, such as being fired or receiving a pay decrease. Typically, the exchange is sexual in nature to get an employment perk or not face adverse employment treatment.

A hostile work environment occurs when the speech and conduct of supervisors, co-workers, clients, customers, etc., are sexually unsavory, derogatory, or hostile to create an environment that interferes with the victim’s job performance or would make any reasonable person quit.

Examples of Workplace Sexual Harassment

Gender, age, race, sexual orientation, and sex do not matter – any employee may experience sexual harassment. Any inappropriate sexual gestures or words that create an offensive or hostile environment qualify as harassment, even if was not done to one particular person. Examples of this harassment in New York City include:

  • Displaying offensive or pornographic images, videos, etc.
  • Making obscene gestures
  • Making repeated, unwelcome advances
  • Using vulgar language or telling inappropriate jokes
  • Remarking on another’s sexual attractiveness
  • Making comments about someone’s lack of sexual attractiveness
  • Making improper references to one’s sexual attributes
  • Touching another person that is unwelcomed
  • Touching oneself sexually in front of another person

Penalties for Workplace Harassment

The laws applied to the harassment claim will ultimately determine the penalty the employer or perpetrator will face. Such penalties include:

  • Repayment of lost wages to the victim
  • Compensatory and punitive damages
  • Legal fees
  • Job reinstatement

In addition to the compensation owed to the victim, employees who engaged in the harassment will also face penalties for their actions. This can include:

  • Reprimands
  • Mandatory training and counseling
  • Transfers
  • Wage or salary deductions
  • Suspensions
  • Terminations

If you experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, know that you are not alone.

New York Sexual Harassment Lawyers: Bantle & Levy LLP

You go to work each day looking to make a living on your career path–not to be tormented by a predator. But if you have experienced sexual harassment, know that you can fight this disturbing behavior. Let the employee rights attorneys of Bantle & Levy LLP represent you in your New York harassment case. We have the experience and the drive to bring you justice. Contact us today.

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What Constitutes a Hostile Work Environment?

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Bantle & Levy February 2022

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