Claims of Physical Sexual Harassment

Attorneys in New York Handle Claims for Physical Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, P.C., representing employees in New York City, Long Island, and the surrounding metropolitan area, have experience with all types of discrimination cases. One thing we have noticed during our 20 plus years handling employment discrimination matters is that when victims speak about sexual harassment in the workplace, it tends to be about conduct that is verbal or visual in nature. Reports of lewd commentary about one’s body, jokes about sex, and the display of racy photos or videos are frequently the subject of complaints. We regularly encounter women and men reeling with anxiety because of the persistent requests for sex or romantic outings from co-workers or supervisors.

Sexual harassment, however, comes in many forms. It is not limited to inappropriate words. Physical contact in the workplace can also form the basis of a sexual harassment claim. Like most discrimination claims, those involving physical harassment must receive independent scrutiny.

At Leeds Brown, our attorneys are proud to provide strong and zealous representation to victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. This form of sex discrimination permeates places of employment in New York and across the nation. As more men and women come forward, filing claims and reporting offenders, we find ourselves, along with the public, learning just how big a problem sexual harassment is.

You have recourse if someone is sexually harassing you at work or if you have been punished for complaining about it. If you have suffered at your job because of such treatment, Leeds Brown can help. We can help you understand your legal rights to work in a place free from discrimination and how to collect monetary damages for emotional, financial, and physical injuries you are experiencing because of sexual harassment. In New York, employees contact Leeds Brown for professional, personal service and for help navigating sexual harassment complaints.

What is Sexual Harassment?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that oversees the enforcement of employment discrimination laws including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on sex. An employer may not make an employment-related decision based on sex. An employment decision is one involving compensation, promotions, benefits, hiring or firing, for example.

This provision banning sex discrimination also prohibits sexual harassment. It is a form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment usually occurs in one of two ways:

  1. Quid pro quo- a supervisor makes an employment-related threat or promise to a subordinate conditional upon the acceptance or refusal of a sexual “favor.” For example, your boss tells you that if you don’t have sex with her, she will transfer you to an office across the country. Your shift supervisor threatens to fire you if you don’t have sex with him.
  2. Hostile work environment-the lewd or inappropriate behavior of one or multiple co-workers is severe and pervasive enough that it creates a hostile work environment for the victim. For example, a colleague comments on your body every time you walk by or your co-workers constantly watch porn in the office on high volume.

Physical Contact May Be Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment does not have to involve just jokes and innuendo. It can include physical contact. Unwanted physical contact in the workplace may form the basis of a sexual harassment claim. Unfortunately, many people receive unwanted hugs or pats on the back daily at work. They chalk it up to Bob being “overly friendly” or “harmless.” But, no one has the right to touch you when you don’t want to be touched, especially at work. Recognizing boundaries is important to maintaining healthy work relationships. If someone is crossing those boundaries, making you uncomfortable, speak to someone. The behavior may be unlawful.

When is Unwanted Physical Contact Sexual Harassment?

When you are unsure about whether the unwanted touch of another constitutes actionable sexual harassment, it may help to speak with experienced attorneys at Leeds Brown. What may be ok in a casual setting is not necessarily appropriate in the workplace. What may be appropriate in one workplace situation may not be ok in another. Context can play an important role in determining when physical contact constitutes sexual harassment.

If you have ever found yourself in the following situations, you may be able to recover damages for sexual harassment.

  • A co-worker massaging or caressing your shoulders or neck without your consent
  • Someone rubbing up against you when they walk by
  • Grabbing, groping, slapping, or rubbing parts of your body including, but not limited to, your intimate parts
  • Unwanted hugging
  • Someone standing or sitting way too close, hovering over you while you work or forcing contact by their proximity
  • Unwanted kissing on any part of your body
  • Physical pressure to perform an intimate act
  • Attempted sexual assault
  • Sexual assault

Attorneys Help Victims of Sexual Harassment

When a perpetrator is someone who has power over your job and makes a threat or conditions an aspect of your position on accepting unwanted physical contact, it may be unlawful sexual harassment. When one or more persons at work engage in the behavior and make you feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or makes it difficult to do your job, it may constitute sexual harassment. In either situation, you may be able to file a claim to collect monetary damages from your employer.

If you complain about the contact and your employer terminates your position or otherwise punishes you, you may also have a claim for retaliation. The same laws that prohibit sex discrimination and harassment, prohibit retaliation. Your employer may not punish you or threaten to punish you for exercising your legal right to stop discrimination.

By speaking with attorneys, you can figure out the best way to proceed with your claim. For example, do you know if your employer has a handbook that requires you to report sexual harassment to a specific person before pursuing other options? Do you know if you should file a claim with the EEOC or a New York State or New York City agency? How much time do you have? Should you call the police? What if you are being harassed by someone you used to date?

These are all questions that attorneys at Leeds Brown can help you answer. We can assist you to navigate this difficult situation and determine the course of action that can lead to a favorable outcome. Our attorneys have the resources and skills to investigate, file, and resolve your claims with tenacity and compassion.

Contact Us Before Time Runs Out on Your Sexual Harassment Claim

There is a statute of limitations that establishes how much time you have to file a sexual harassment claim. We have no way of knowing how much time is left until we hear about your case. Call Leeds Brown, attorneys handling sexual harassment cases in New York, today for a free case evaluation.

You may be able to collect damages for physical and emotional injuries you received because of sexual harassment. If your employer fired you, demoted or otherwise punished you for complaining about your treatment, you may receive reinstatement to your job, lost wages and other remedies.

Leeds Brown has nearly 30 years of experience representing employees in New York City, on Long Island and the surrounding counties. We have secured millions of dollars for clients in employment discrimination claims. You can reach us 24/7 by calling 1-800-585-4658. We would be happy to evaluate your sexual harassment claim at no charge. Find out how we can help you. Call now.