New York City Sexual Harassment Attorneys
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. Both men and women are often victims of sexual harassment. The attorneys at Lipsky Lowe have significant experience litigating sexual harassment claims and will fight for you.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
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 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 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 the sexual harassment or 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
Quid pro quo exists when an employee feels he or she must go along with the sexual 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.”
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 is sexually unsavory, derogatory, or hostile to create an environment that interferes with job performance or would make any person quit that job.
Examples of Sexual Harassment
Any person can be sexually harassed, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or their position in the company. Any inappropriate sexual gestures or words that create an offensive, intimidating, or hostile environment qualify as sexual harassment, even if not directed at a specific person. Here are common examples of sexual harassment:
- Displaying offensive or pornographic images
- Making obscene or indecent gestures
- Making repeated, unwelcome advances
- Uses vulgar language or telling inappropriate jokes
- Remarking on another’s sexual attractiveness (or lack of it)
- Making improper references to one’s own sexual attributes
- Touching another person in a way that is unnecessary and undesired
- Touching oneself in a sexual way in front of another person
Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Employers are responsible for both preventing and promptly correcting sexual harassment in the workplace. They do this through employee handbooks that have a reporting process and training. Employees should, while not required, report harassment whenever it occurs.
How Lipsky Lowe LLP Can Help
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, 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 sexual harassment, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Lipsky Lowe. With Lipsky Lowe, you have strength in your corner.