According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “unwelcome conduct” is considered unlawful workplace harassment when it is based on categories such as sex (pregnancy included), national origin, race, color, age, disability, religion, or genetic information. Harassment may be against the law when it makes your employment conditional or when it makes your working environment hostile.
New York also has its own harassment laws. According to the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR), illegal harassment includes actions that subject a worker to “inferior terms, conditions or privileges of employment.” New York also has its own list of protected classes, which includes both sex and sexual orientation.
There are both state and federal laws against workplace sexual harassment. When it comes to sexual harassment, the DHR claims that the following types of behaviors may be considered unlawful:
- Sexually suggestive jokes, teasing, or comments
- Requesting sex to retain employment or for workplace benefits
- Pressuring others for sex when it is not wanted
- Exposing someone to pornography
- Unwanted and unnecessary touching
Protected Classes in New York
According to the DHR, protected classes in New York include:
- Domestic violence victim status
- Gender identity or expression
- Familial status
- Lawful source of income (in housing only)
- Marital status
- Military status
- National origin
- Predisposing genetic characteristics
- Pregnancy-related condition
- Prior arrest or conviction record
- Sexual orientation
- Retaliation for opposing unlawful discriminatory practices
If you were harassed on the basis of any of the preceding categories, you may be able to file a workplace harassment lawsuit.
Understanding Workplace Harassment
Harassment can come from supervisors, managers, team leaders, colleagues, or others in a position to negatively impact your employment. Domestic workers and contractors may also be protected under workplace harassment laws. Your employer might be held liable for harassment if a supervisor’s actions lead to your termination, cost you a promotion, or impacted your employment in some other way.
If you were the victim of unlawful workplace harassment, you might have been either placed in a quid pro quo situation or subjected to a hostile work environment. Either of these situations can make going to work and getting through the workday difficult or impossible.
A lawyer in your area may listen to your story and help clarify the type of harassment you endured. Your lawyer may also explain your legal options, financial recovery possibilities, and help you define the next steps in your case.
Report Unlawful Harassment in Your Workplace Right Away
Any form of harassment at work can be difficult to cope with. In some cases, it can also be intimidating enough to cause you to question whether or not you should report it. You should not accept harassment without reporting it. In fact, the law supports your right to file a complaint without being subjected to retaliation.
When you do report workplace harassment, a lawyer can help you determine the timeline that applies to your case and when to take each subsequent step. Your lawyer may also be able to make sure you do not inadvertently risk your potential right to compensation by running out of time.
The EEOC guidelines generally require you or your lawyer to file a harassment charge within 180 or 300 days of the most recent episode. Once you meet the required timeline, all harassment incidents will be investigated, not only the most recent one.
The general statute of limitations for filing a workplace sexual harassment lawsuit in New York is three years, according to the DHR.
Your reporting of workplace harassment can help you start a claim for financial compensation. Your official complaint might also prevent others from being harassed or otherwise improve working conditions at your place of employment.
Do not allow threats or fear of retaliation to cause you to remain silent in the face of harassment. The law is on your side, and your legal team can fight hard for you.
Morelli Law Firm Can Help You Fight Back Against Harassment
If you were sexually harassed or harassed in any other way at work, you might be entitled to file an insurance claim or lawsuit for compensation. Morelli Law Firm may be able to help offer you representation, communicate with all parties on your behalf, and defend your rights.
For a free case review with a member of our team, call Morelli Law Firm today at (212) 751-9800. We can discuss if you may have experienced unlawful workplace harassment and your legal options during this call. If you qualify, we may be able to offer you representation on a contingency-fee-basis with no up-front payments required.