Sexual harassment is a type of gender discrimination that is illegal in New York City. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is far too common in the retail industry. A recent study analyzing sexual harassment claims found that the retail industry had the second-highest number of sexual harassment charges after the food services industry. Many jobs in the retail industry are lower-paying and occupied predominantly by women who are regularly subjected to sexual harassment.
Discuss Your Case With an NYC Sexual Harassment Lawyer
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment while working or shopping in a retail location, you may have grounds to bring a lawsuit against your employer. At Lipsky Lowe LLP, our New York City sexual harassment lawyers are committed to fighting for victims of sexual harassment in retail. After carefully reviewing your case, we will advise you of your legal options. If you decide to pursue a claim against your employer, we will assist you throughout the entire process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can fight for your right to compensation.
Pursuing a Sexual Harassment Claim in the Retail Industry
In New York City, it’s illegal for those who provide public accommodations to deny those accommodations due to a person’s gender, gender expression, or gender identity. Sexual harassment is one type of unlawful gender discrimination. Many New Yorkers don’t realize that retail stores are considered a public accommodation since they are held out to the public. As a result, you are entitled to be free from sexual harassment when you enter any public space, including retail stores. Whether you’re a New York City resident or a visitor, you are protected under New York City’s anti-discrimination laws.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in a New York City Retail Location?
Sexual harassment is a type of discrimination that can include intimidation, coercion, threats, offensive, derogatory remarks, or violence. The harassment may interfere with your civil or constitutional rights and is motivated in part by your actual or perceived sex or gender identity. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, jokes, pictures, gestures, or requests for sexual favors. In New York City, simply refusing to use a transgender person’s preferred pronoun or name can be considered sexual harassment.
Examples of Sexual Harassment in Retail Locations
Gender-based harassment could include one serious, but isolated incident of disparate treatment. Gender-based harassment may also include repeated discriminatory behavior. Suppose a retail store clerk sexually assaulted a customer in the changing room. In this case, a single incident would have occurred, but it would still constitute harassment. The perpetrator would face criminal charges, and the victim could file a complaint against the retail location.
On the other hand, sexual harassment could involve multiple instances. For example, if a customer goes to a retail location repeatedly and the clerks continue to be inappropriate, will you touch you, catcall you, or refuse to start making sexually based remarks. This could also constitute sexual harassment. The frequency or severity of the sexual harassment will be relevant when determining the damages your lawyer may be able to recover. However, simply facing differential treatment based on gender is typically enough to constitute sexual harassment in New York City.
Sexual Harassment Based on Gender Non-Conforming
Sexual harassment can occur when the alleged victim in the retail location and the store clerk or owner are of the same sex. Likewise, sexual harassment can also occur if the victim is transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming. Suppose an employee at a clothing store repeatedly makes fun of a customer’s appearance because he is gender non-conforming. This type of behavior could constitute unlawful sexual harassment in New York City. Similarly, if a store owner continues to touch an employee or customer inappropriately, this could also constitute unlawful sexual harassment.
For example, public accommodations, including retail stores, cannot require a customer or employee to conform to sex-based stereotypes. They cannot make derogatory comments based on their perception that the employee or customer doesn’t conform to gender stereotypes. For example, a clerk at a bookstore cannot continue to use anti-gay epithets against a customer as a result of the customer not conforming with sex-based stereotypes. Sexual harassment based on gender non-conformity could include mean or disparaging comments related to the following:
- How he or she acts
- Body characteristics
How to File a Claim for Sexual Harassment in New York City
Thankfully, New York City has some of the most stringent laws when it comes to sexual harassment. If you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment in a retail establishment, you have the right to file a claim with the New York City Human Rights Commission. This commission has the authority to impose a civil penalty on the retail establishment if they find that sexual harassment did occur. You may have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit in civil court in New York alleging the common law causes of action in addition to any violation of New York City’s laws.
Remedies in a sexual harassment lawsuit could include punitive damages intended to punish the retail store and warn other stores for engaging in future misconduct. The courts also have the authority to impose injunctive relief, such as issuing an order requiring the retail location to stop sexually harassing customers or provide sexual harassment training to the store’s employees.
Contact a Sexual Harassment Lawyer Today
At Lipsky Lowe LLP, our employment lawyers help clients with many different types of sexual harassment cases. Whether you have been subjected to a hostile work environment or you’ve experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment, you may be entitled to compensation. If you believe you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment in a retail location, it’s important to discuss your case with a lawyer. You only have a limited amount of time to file a claim. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP today to learn more about how we can advocate for you.