Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Man touching woman's hand while they work

Workplace sexual harassment is a serious matter that ranges from inappropriate comments to sexual advances. Sadly, many employees find themselves the victim of sexual harassment committed by a CEO, manager, supervisor, or fellow employee. If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, learn how to protect your rights.

Employees’ Protection Under the Law

Several federal and state laws exist to protect employees’ rights when faced with sexual harassment in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on race, color, sex, religion, and national origin. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII, and applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

Employers are required to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment, including informing employees that the company has a policy prohibiting sexual harassment and how to make a complaint against it. However, companies do not always follow this requirement to the degree they should and as a result, employees may become the victims of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment can take many forms, and can be physical, verbal, nonverbal, written, and visual. It includes but is not limited to the following:

  • The victim, as well as the harasser, may be a man or a woman. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.

  • The harasser can be anyone the victim works with.

  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

  • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.

  • The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome.

Although federal law does not prohibit offhand comments or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision, such as the employee being fired or demoted.

How to Handle Workplace Sexual Harassment

If you are an employee facing sexual harassment at work, follow your employer’s guidelines for reporting it. Several regulations exist to protect employees from negative employment action for complaining about harassment, filing a charge of harassment, or participating in an investigation or lawsuit. These protections apply to federal, state, and local governments, as well as employment agencies and labor organizations.

After reporting the sexual harassment to your company, you will then need to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the last incident.

Throughout this process, it is important to remember the following resources that will help you advocate for yourself and determine next steps. Make sure to document everything, including:

  • Your experience with the harasser, including time, location, details, and witnesses.

  • Your experience reporting the harassment, including time, location, details, and witnesses.

  • How your productivity at work was negatively affected by the harassment.

Facing Workplace Sexual Harassment? We Can Protect Your Rights

If you are experiencing sexual harassment at work, it’s important to keep in mind that the actions of the harasser are wrong, and they need to be held accountable for what they did. Remember too that you have rights that are protected under federal and state law; you should not be afraid to fight for your rights in court.

Our New York workplace sexual harassment attorneys at Mark David Shirian, P.C. can assess your situation and work to develop a legal strategy that will achieve your goals and hold your employer responsible.

We regularly handle sexual harassment cases involving:

  • Sexist behavior

  • Sexual advances

  • Sexual bribery

  • Sexual coercion

  • Sexual intimidation

  • Sexual joking

  • Unlawful touching

  • Request for sex

  • Criminal sexual conduct

  • Same-sex sexual harassment

  • Co-worker sexual harassment

  • Supervisor sexual harassment

Contact us today at (212) 931-6530 to learn how we can help you obtain justice.

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