Unfortunately, many models in New York face sexual harassment while working on jobs. The nature of their work allows some clients to assume that they have a right to touch or comment on a model’s body or physical appearance in a sexual and offensive way. Models are entitled to work in an environment free from unwanted and offensive sexual behavior. This includes behavior from clients, photographers, agents, stylists, colleagues and supervisors. New York State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic hopes to address some of the specific problems related to sexual harassment that young models in the fashion industry in New York face regularly. She introduced an amendment to the existing anti-discrimination law so that models are specifically covered by the legislation.
Leeds Brown Law offers quality legal representation to models and other employees who experience sexual harassment in the workplace in New York.
While existing anti-discrimination laws in New York City provide helpful protection for employees against sexual harassment, many models have not benefited from these protections in the past. They are typically booked out by a modeling agency and are considered independent contractors for employment purposes when they work for a client. This means that many of the protections that salaried employees enjoy have been more difficult for models to take advantage of because their clients claim that they are not actually employees.
The proposed amendment requires employers to provide a clear avenue for models to file claims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Eventually, companies that regularly use models will need to consider including specific human resource services within their organizations to address workplace concerns for models. The hope is that companies will no longer be able to hide behind the invisible wall of models working as independent contractors to avoid their responsibility to provide a safe workplace that is free from sexual harassment.
If the perpetrator committed sexual assault against the victim, it is possible to file criminal charges. However, this process is cumbersome and complex, and many models in the New York fashion industry are young and unwilling to proceed with a criminal case. In addition, even if a perpetrator is convicted of sexual assault, the victim will likely not receive enough money in restitution from the criminal case to justify the effort involved. Damages in civil cases for sexual harassment typically result in better recovery for the victim.
Some of the traditional barriers to models being able to effectively pursue a claim for sexual harassment on a job will hopefully be removed by the proposed amendment to current anti-discrimination laws. This means that models who experience sexual harassment on a job will be able to recover damages for the behavior they experienced. It may be possible to recover punitive damages as a model against a company if the company is known for allowing offensive behavior in the workplace or engaged in particularly egregious harassment. A knowledgeable sexual harassment lawyer in New York will be able to advise you on what your options for pursuing a sexual harassment claim as a fashion model might be.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of sexual assault as a model in the fashion industry, the attorneys at Leeds Brown Law can assist with filing your claim. We are sensitive to the concerns of models that they have a career and image to protect in seeking damages for sexual harassment in the fashion industry. Speak with a New York sexual harassment attorney today by calling 866-728-5015 for an initial appointment with our office. We will explain your options for recovery and advise on the next steps to pursue a sexual harassment claim as a fashion model.