New York City Sexual Harassment Attorney

sexual harassment at work

Getting Justice for Victims of Workplace Sexual Harassment in NYC

Employees have the legal right to come to work without fear of being sexually harassed by a supervisor, co-worker, vendor, or client. Unfortunately, that is not the case for many workers in New York City and around the world. Both men and women are often victims of sexual harassment and many do not report the harassment or seek legal help. The New York City employment lawyer at Lipsky Lowe has significant experience litigating sexual harassment claims and will fight for you.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in New York City?

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual conduct directed at one employee by another, regardless of gender, and includes sexual advances, inappropriate joking, touching, requesting sexual favors, and many other types of harassment that are sexual in nature. State, city, and federal laws prohibit sexual harassment and further prohibit an employer from discriminating or retaliating against a victim of sexual harassment.

For harassment to be unlawful under federal law, the conduct must be unwelcome, and severe or pervasive. No requirement, however, exists under the New York City Law that the conduct be severe or pervasive to be actionable. One instance may, in fact, be enough to constitute sexual harassment. Under the City law, the test if whether the employee was treated less well than others because of his or her gender.

Under federal law, an employer is liable for sexual harassment if it had prior knowledge of the wrongdoing but failed to correct it. New York State and New York City’s law is different. Under these laws, employees who are owners, supervisors, and managers are individually liable if they create or condone sexual harassment or a hostile work environment. While in New Jersey, individuals can only be individually liable if they “aid and abet” the unlawful harassment.

The law distinguishes two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo exists when an employee feels he or she must go along with the harassment in exchange for a promotion, salary increase, not being fired, not getting a pay decrease or not being fired. Quid pro quo essentially means “this for that” and is not an acceptable or legal workplace practice.

Hostile Work Environment

A work environment becomes hostile when the speech and conduct of supervisors, co-workers, clients, customers, owners, or anyone else at the workplace are sexually unsavory, derogatory, or hostile to create an environment that interferes with job performance or would make any person quit that job.

Can you sue your employer in NY for harassment?

Yes, you can sue your employer in NY for harassment. If you have been harassed in the workplace, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against your employer. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that is prohibited by both federal and state law.

Two female coworkers mocking another coworker

Examples of Sexual Harassment in New York City

Any person can be sexually harassed, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or position in the company. Any inappropriate sexual gestures or words that create an offensive, intimidating, or hostile environment qualifies as sexual harassment, even if not directed at a specific person. Here are common examples of harassment:

Is a workplace harassment lawsuit capped in NY State? 

Yes, workplace harassment lawsuits in NY State are capped, but the caps vary depending on the size of the employer.

The caps apply to both compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the victim for their financial and emotional losses, while punitive damages are intended to punish the employer for its egregious behavior.

There are a few exceptions to the caps on damages in sexual harassment lawsuits. If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, you should contact our sexual harassment lawyers to discuss your legal options.

Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Employers are responsible for both preventing and promptly correcting harassment in the workplace. They do this through multiple methods including creating and distributing employee handbooks that have a reporting process and training. Employees should, while not required, report harassment whenever it occurs.

Contact Our New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyer

If you are a victim of sexual harassment in New York, we are ready to fight for you. This may include filing or defending a lawsuit or negotiating a confidential settlement. You should not delay. If you have experienced an issue at work, contact the experienced attorneys at Lipsky Lowe. With Lipsky Lowe, you have strength in your corner. Should you have any more questions about sexual harassment, don’t hesitate to visit our Sexual Harassment FAQs page.

Lipsky Lowe, LLP is located in New York City, New York, and services the sexual harassment victims of New York City, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx.