Employees in NYC Experience Sex Harassment and Retaliation

Sex Harassment and Retaliation in the New York City Workplace

Sex harassment is a form of employment discrimination that is unlawful under federal, New York State and New York City legislation. Experienced employment law attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, P.C. have seen a rise in cases involving sexual harassment in the New York City metropolitan area and the retaliation that frequently accompany those cases.

Our compassionate and dedicated employment discrimination lawyers understand that when you are the victim of sexual harassment, there are emotional and physical effects that make it difficult to go to work each day. You may feel threatened or uncomfortable in a way that interferes with your health and your job performance. Many clients tell us that one of the biggest issues they wrestle with is what to do when co-workers or a superior engages in behavior that violates the law.

Clients Often Wonder “How Will You Handle Sexual Harassment?”

“Should I tell someone? If I do, will the harassment get worse? Will I get in trouble? Will they fire me or transfer me?” Many victims share these valid concerns. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in 2015, there were over thirty thousand retaliation claims filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII makes employment discrimination (including sexual harassment) unlawful. It also makes it illegal to retaliate against an employee for reporting it or trying to put a stop to it.

Sex harassment may make your workplace unbearable at times, but when you add the real possibility of punishment or retaliation for trying to deal with it, it can become even more so. If you have to worry about professional and financial repercussions, though unlawful, what do you do? Are you supposed to put up with sexual harassment?

You do not have to handle this on your own. Leeds Brown employment discrimination attorneys know that you have recourse if you are the victim of sexual harassment and retaliation. You may have all the evidence you need to file a claim for the harassment and retaliation and receive monetary compensation and other relief that appropriately reflects your emotional and financial injuries. We can walk you through the entire process and help you to understand your rights when you experience discrimination in the workplace.

Attorneys Help Employees File Claims for Unlawful Retaliation

Under Title VII, New York State and New York City laws, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting sexual harassment, cooperating in an investigation of harassment or trying to protest harassment in the workplace. These provisions exist to encourage people to step forward and speak up when they experience or witness unlawful behavior, without fear of punishment. When someone reports harassment to a supervisor or the company’s Human Resources department, files a claim with the EEOC, state or city agency or aids in an internal investigation or investigation by the EEOC, state or city agency, the employer may not take any adverse action against that employee. However, this is not necessarily the reality in many places of business.

How do New York City Employers Retaliate Against Employees who are Victims of Sex Harassment?

Retaliation occurs in various ways. It is essentially any employment decision that punishes or negatively affects the employee who reported the sex harassment. Some example of the usual ways employers retaliate are:

  • Termination
  • Decrease pay rate or salary
  • Demotion
  • Relocation
  • Withholding wages
  • Withholding expected bonuses
  • Eliminating duties
  • Transfer of departments
  • Reassignment of territory
  • Altering or taking away benefits

Retaliation is often the basis for a successful claim against an employer. A strong retaliation claim can result in a significant award to the victim, whether or not there is merit to the underlying claim for sexual harassment. If an employer retaliates against an employee for trying to assert and protect his or her right to work in a harassment-free environment, the employer may be obligated to pay monetary damages and reverse the retaliatory employment decision.

A Look at Sex Harassment in New York City

Sex harassment in the workplace is a form of employment discrimination based on suggestive and/or lewd behavior. It occurs in two different ways:

Hostile Work Environment- This unlawful sexual harassment occurs when one or more co-workers act in a way that creates uncomfortable working conditions for the victim. It usually involves sexual jokes, inappropriate comments or emails, unwanted touching, repeated propositions, threats or other behaviors that are pervasive and unwelcome.

Quid Pro Quo- This type of sex harassment occurs between a superior and subordinate. When a supervisor or another person in a position of authority conditions an aspect of a subordinate’s employment on the acceptance or refusal to perform a sexual favor, it is quid pro quo harassment. Unlike a hostile work environment, the perpetrator of quid pro quo sexual harassment must have some power over the victim and have the ability to affect his or her employment.

Sex harassment of either kind can lead to retaliation. Consider the following examples:

  • Your co-worker asks you out a dozen times and despite your constant refusals continues to do so almost daily. You complain to your supervisor who immediately transfers you to another office in a part of town that ads an hour each way to your commute.
  • Your boss requests your presence at a “private” meeting in a hotel. When you do not show up, he calls you to tell you not to bother coming to work anymore.
  • You file a charge with the EEOC alleging that you are working in a hostile environment because of the barrage of sexual innuendo you are forced to endure from your co-workers on a routine basis. The company you work for finds out and re-assigns you to a less lucrative job in a separate, distant workspace because you “aren’t a team player.”
  • Despite being fully qualified for a promotion, your boss tells you that you will never get one. Why? Because you helped the EEOC gather information when a co-worker filed a sex harassment charge against the company.

Contact Us

If you think you have a claim for workplace sex harassment and retaliation, having the right attorneys, like the ones at Leeds Brown, can go a long way toward securing the outcome to which you are entitled.

In New York City, Long Island, and the surrounding areas, navigating a claim for sex harassment can be complicated, especially when you are reeling from the emotional damages and financial issues that it and retaliation can cause. With our skill and dedication, we can help you negotiate with your employer to reach a fair resolution of your matter, work with the EEOC, state or city agencyto investigate your claim, and take your case to trial in a court of law if that is what is required.

Leeds Brown has spent decades working to ensure that the rights of New York City workers are protected. When unlawful activity endangers those rights, we are here to help. We have an track record of achieving excellent results for our clients and, while no two cases are the same, our hands-on, team-based approach means that all matters receive personal and professional attention from a seasoned sex harassment lawyer.

Time may be of the essence so call Leeds Brown today and find out if you have a claim against your employer for sexual harassment and unlawful retaliation. Someone is here to take your call 24/7 – 1-800-585-4658.