woman looking at computer screen with man standing over her sexual advanced

Subjected to Sexual Advances During the Hiring Process?

A job interview is stressful enough without the additional worry of a prospective employer making a sexual advance. It is important to remember that sexual harassment in the workplace — including during the hiring process — is a violation of local, state and federal law. If you experienced a sexual advance during a job interview or any other form of workplace harassment, it is important to know your rights.

Lipsky Lowe LLP is a preeminent employment law firm serving clients throughout New York and New Jersey. We frequently handle cases involving job candidates who have been subjected to sexual advances during the hiring or recruitment process. Our legal team has a well-earned reputation for helping our clients fight back against sexual harassment in the workplace and holding responsible parties accountable. When you come to Lipsky Lowe, we will be the strength in your corner.

Sexual Harassment During the Hiring Process

Sexual harassment during a job interview is considered an unlawful form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the New York State Human Rights Law, the New York City Human Rights Law and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Moreover, the laws of New York and New Jersey provide protections for individuals that are in the hiring process. In the context of a job interview, sexual harassment may involve inappropriate comments or any type of unwelcome physical contact.

There are two forms of sexual harassment — quid pro quo (Latin for “this for that”), and hostile work environment:

  • Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment — In an interview setting, a job offer may be based on your agreeing to certain sexual acts (e.g. kissing, touching, sexual relations)
  • Hostile Work Environment — During the hiring process, you are subjected to unwelcome physical verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile or stressful atmosphere (e.g an interviewer makes lewd gesture or comments about your body)

Although this seems straightforward, proving that you have been the victim of sexual harassment during the hiring process is complicated. A a job offer that is conditioned upon sexual favors may be considered sexual harassment, however, such cases are often a matter of “he said, she said” because there are no witnesses other than the parties involved. Similarly, determining when an interview becomes sexual harassment depends on whether the offensive conduct qualifies as harassment. This is why it is important to work with the esteemed employment law attorneys at Lipsky Lowe.

Examples of Sexual Harassment During the Job Interview

While individuals meeting for an interview customarily shake hands — an accepted form of contact — it is not permissible for an interviewer to touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or that you believe is offensive (e.g. placing a hand on your knee). At the same time, not all forms of touching are inappropriate. Similarly, some words or complements may be considered harmless (e.g. “that’s a smart outfit”) while other comments may be grounds for a sexual harassment claim.

Examples of inappropriate conduct or comments during an interview include:

  • Offering a job in exchange for sexual favors or a date
  • Asking a job candidate about his or her marital status
  • Commenting about an applicant’s body
  • Making derogatory comments about a job candidate’s gender
  • Inquiring about a prospective employee’s sexual history
  • Sitting close to a candidate and placing a hand on his or her knee
  • Massaging a job applicant’s shoulders, legs, etc.
  • Rubbing against a job candidate’s body when entering or leaving a room

In sum, any words or actions that make you feel uncomfortable in a sexual context or a demand for a sexual act could be considered sexual harassment during the job interview.

Why Choose Lipsky Lowe?

Interviews can be stressful, especially when you really need a job and an employer makes inappropriate comments or sexual advances. Being the victim of sexual harassment or refusing a sexual advance during the hiring process can interfere with your employment prospects. This is why many victims never come forward after experiencing a sexual advance during the job interview. If you have been subjected to sexual advances during a job interview or have been discriminated against during the hiring process because of your gender, we know how to fight for your rights.

Our experienced employment law attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation to assess whether you have a viable claim and explore your options for obtaining compensation. If your claim is successful, you may be able to recover damages such as the costs associated with your job search, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and medical expenses for any counseling you may have required. Punitive damages may be available to punish an employer if a sexual advance is especially egregious.

At Lipsky Lowe, we believe that no one should tolerate sexual advances during a job interview or any form of sexual harassment in the workplace. We have a proven track record of achieving successful outcomes inside or outside of the courtroom. If you have been subjected to sexual advances or inappropriate touching during a job interview, or have been denied a position after refusing a sexual advance, you may be angry, confused and not know where to turn. Remember, we are here to help. Please contact our office as soon as possible to set up a consultation.