Sexual Harassment and Employment Law

New York employment attorney Steven Mitchell Sack has successfully fought for the rights of individuals who have suffered sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Such instances include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • The person must submit to such activity to be hired;
  • The person’s consent or refusal is used in making an employment decision such as a raise or promotion; or
  • Such conduct unreasonably interferes with the person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment such as humiliating comments that are perpetually addressed to the complainant

Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination prohibited within Employment Law. Occurrences of sexual harassment in the workplace violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was ruled into law by the Supreme Court in 1986. Though sexual harassment can be difficult to identify and establish concrete evidence for, studies suggest that most women believe they have endured sexual harassment at work at some point. While there are many cases of women facing sexual harassment, the courts recognize men as victims, as well as same-sex sexual harassment suits.

To be considered sexual harassment, a plaintiff must show that the employer subjected the employee to unwelcome sexual conduct; the unwelcome sexual conduct was based on the employee’s gender; the conduct was sufficiently pervasive or severe to alter the terms and conditions of employment and create an abusive or hostile working environment.

An employer can even be held liable for sexual harassment if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment of one employee to another and failed to take prompt and reasonable remedial action. An employer could face the burden of having to pay damages should he or she fail to properly investigate and attempt to rectify the matter.

To properly address issues of sexual harassment, it is important to keep a record of every instance in which you felt discriminated against or harassed, including the location, events, time, persons involved, the name of any witnesses, and whether any supervisors had any involvement in the acts. Contact an experienced employment and sexual harassment attorney if:

  • The matter was not resolved sufficiently
  • You are retaliated against for making a complaint
  • You feel uncomfortable while being questioned about the events
  • The employer fails to take speedy action to investigate your complaints
  • You wish to pursue money damages for stress, mental suffering, and physical injuries caused or induced by the harassment
  • The company mistakenly determines that no harassment occurred, that the acts do not constitute harassment, that it had no knowledge of the incident and thus is not responsible, or fails to make a decision in an objective manner
  • The employer disparages your character, job performance, or family life
  • The employer refuses to allow you to grieve the incident through its complaint procedures