Representing Victims of Visual Sexual Harassment Throughout New York City
Although workplace sexual harassment continues to be pervasive, some individuals may not know what it is. Generally, sexual harassment occurs when anyone — a supervisor, coworker, vendor or customer — directs inappropriate or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature at another worker whether through words, physical acts, or gestures. Given the use of social media, text messaging and other electronic communications in today’s workplace, visual sexual harassment is also common. In any event, it is important for employers and employees alike to understand their rights and responsibilities under applicable employment laws.
Lipsky Lowe is a preeminent employment law firm that routinely handles sexual harassment claims in New York and New Jersey. We provide victims of visual sexual harassment with legal knowledge, compassion, and guidance, and fight to protect their rights. Our legal team also designs defensive strategies for businesses facing sexual harassment claims and helps create policies aimed at preventing workplace harassment. Above all, we are dedicated to rooting out workplace harassment in all its forms and fostering the development of positive work environments.
What is visual sexual harassment?
At times, sexual harassment may be overt, for example, when a supervisor makes a sexual advance toward a subordinate in return for a raise or promotion. This is referred to as quid pro quo, or “this for that” harassment. Another type of harassment — known as a hostile work environment — occurs when an employee is subjected to a pattern of unwelcome physical, verbal or visual conduct that causes distress or interferes with his or her job performance.
Visual sexual harassment, which falls under the banner of hostile work environment, may involve obscene gestures or leering, or any type of sexually explicit image, including:
- Graphic calendars
- Pornographic material downloaded onto a computer
- Screensavers or “wallpaper” on a computer monitor
- Email attachments
- Text messages
- Other offensive visual displays
Regardless of the type of explicit imagery involved, workers are protected under federal, state and local law, such as 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.
It is important to note that Title VII only applies to employers with 15 or more employees. In addition, before filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, you must a file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Moreover, you must be able to prove that the conduct was severe or pervasive enough to change the conditions of employment. There is no such requirement under the New York City, New York State and New Jersey discrimination laws, however, and it is only necessary to show that you were treated less well than other employees. Nonetheless, it is necessary to demonstrate that you complained about the visual sexual harassment to a supervisor and your employer failed to take corrective action.
Why Clients Choose Lipsky Lowe
At Lipsky Lowe, we believe that everyone has a right to a work environment free from sexual harassment, and employers have an obligation to create such an environment. Our legal team is well-versed in the applicable employment laws and has a proven track record of achieving successful outcomes, inside or outside of the courtroom.
If you have been the victim of visual sexual harassment, we will conduct an extensive investigation to understand the circumstances of your claim. Were offensive posters repeatedly placed on company bulletin boards or other areas? Has a coworker been making offensive gestures of a sexual nature toward you? Was someone watching pornorgraphy on their smartphome or computer while at work?
If we determine that your claim is valid, we will work closely with you to compile any evidence, identify and interview potential witnesses, and choose the best course of action. Regardless of the forum — litigation, arbitration or mediation, we will aggressively fight for your right to meaningful compensation.
Given the potential liabilities arising from sexual harassment claims, we believe that employers must take a Zero Tolerance approach. Toward that end, we offer advice and counsel on how to establish formal policies prohibiting workplace sexual harassment in all its forms and procedures for handling complaints. When necessary, we also provide defensive capabilities to business clients seeking to refute sexual harassment claims.
While workplace harassment has only become a hot button issue in the media, we have decades of experience handling sexual harassment claims. We have a proven history of successfully representing clients in administrative proceedings before the New York State Division of Human Rights, the New York City Human Rights Commission, the New Jersey Civil Rights Commission and the EEOC. While we prefer to reach negotiated settlements, our attorneys are equally comfortable trying cases in state and federal court.
If you have been subjected to a hostile work environment, or if your business needs to guidance on prevention addressing sexual harassment in the workplace, Lipsky Lowe will be the strength in your corner. Call our office today or complete the convenient online contact form to set up a consultation.