As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains, the three factors that are commonly used to determine whether conduct is considered unlawful workplace harassment are:
- Whether the victim tolerated the harassment to obtain or keep their job
- Whether the harassment was extensive enough to create a hostile or intolerable work environment
- Whether the harassment was a retaliatory response to your filing or participating in a complaint
If these conditions apply to the harassment you suffered at work, they may be considered unlawful, and you could seek financial compensation. A lawyer with our firm will review your situation and determine if you can assign financial liability to your employer.
Your Workplace Should Never Be Hostile or Intolerable
The EEOC encourages you to tell the perpetrator directly that you will not tolerate their harassing behavior. In addition to demanding that the abuse stop, do not hesitate to make an official complaint if you remain the victim of harassment in your workplace. You do not have to be the victim of abuse to report it. You can also file a report or complaint if you witnessed abuse.
Workplace harassment is against the law, and you are not required to tolerate it to keep working. Our lawyer will help you file and manage your workplace harassment complaint and lawsuit, as well as:
- Help you understand how state and federal laws protect you from sexual harassment in the workplace
- Identify the harasser and the conduct that led to your complaint
- Determine the personal and financial effects of the harassment
- Collect evidence of the harassment that took place
- Locate and interview witnesses who saw the harassment take place
- Prepare and file a lawsuit for financial compensation
Be prepared to have a frank and open discussion with our legal team about the harassment you endured at work, as we may ask for specific dates and other details. We will listen with compassion and work with you to develop a workplace harassment case.
What Is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in New York?
New York’s laws on sexual harassment in the workplace align with federal laws. Per the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR), sexual harassment is behavior that consists of the following:
- Unwanted verbal or physical sexual advances
- Sexually explicit statements
- Discriminatory comments that are offensive to the person they are directed toward
Unlawful Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Examples
If you are unsure what sexual harassment in the workplace looks like, here are some examples from the division:
- Requests for sexual favors (These requests can be implied or direct threats concerning one’s job performance or evaluation.)
- Pressure for unwanted sexual activities (These can be subtle or obvious.)
- Verbal harassment or abuse (This abuse could be a pattern of sexual comments or questions.)
- Inappropriate or unnecessary touching or physical contact
- Lewd photographs, drawings, and other displays
The division explains that all of these constitute unlawful sexual harassment if:
- Submitting to this conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
- Whether someone submits to or rejects this behavior is used to affect someone’s employment; or
- This conduct affects someone’s work performance or creates a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment.
Other Important Things to Know About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
The New York State Human Rights Law was revised in 2019 to boost victims’ rights against harassment. New protections under the law make it so that:
- Victims can file a complaint directly with the New York State Division of Human Rights, even if they did not notify their employer first. Employers can still be held responsible, even if a person did not complain to them first.
- Workplace sexual harassment only needs to happen once for a person to file a complaint. It does not need to happen repeatedly before a person can file a complaint.
- It is against the law for an employer to retaliate against an employee who reports sexual harassment. Victims can file a complaint with the division if this happens.
Your Case Could Lead to Financial Recovery
Recovering from a job loss can be difficult, especially if you lost your job for unfair or retaliatory reasons. If any form of harassment or discrimination cost you your job or promotion or made your workplace hostile or unbearable, you could collect financial compensation for your damages.
A lawyer can assess the types and amount of compensation your harassment lawsuit might be worth. You may collect compensation for the following damages:
- Income loss
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional trauma
In some cases, you could receive punitive damages. The court usually only awards punitive damages if it finds the behavior that injured you was intentional. You can speak to your lawyer about the possibility of including punitive damages in your compensation claim.
Retaliation Is a Form of Harassment or Discrimination
Fear of retaliation should not prevent you from making a valid complaint or participating in an investigation of your complaint. Similarly, you should not have to fear retaliation for participating in the investigation of a coworker’s complaint.
Retaliation in and of itself is a form of discrimination that Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws strictly prohibit. For example, EEO laws dictate that you may be considered a victim of retaliation if you were penalized for:
- Talking to a supervisor or manager about your experience or an act of harassment or discrimination you witnessed
- Refusing to comply with requests that might lead to acts of discrimination
- Refusing sexual advances or protecting others from similar advances
- Requesting reasonable accommodations based on your disability or religion
- Asking about salary information to determine whether you are being paid fairly at your workplace
You should report any acts of retaliation you face to us immediately. Our lawyer will help you understand how it could impact your pending claim or lawsuit and whether it entitles you to additional financial recovery.
Morelli Law Firm will Review Your Potential Unlawful Workplace Harassment Case
If you are a victim of workplace harassment, you can call our firm to learn more about the three factors commonly used to determine whether such conduct is considered unlawful. We will also explain how our lawyer could use these factors to build your case.
One of our team members will evaluate your case for free. If you are eligible to file a claim or lawsuit, we will represent you during the negotiations phase or fight for your recovery at trial. Contact the client intake team at Morelli Law Firm by calling (212) 751-9800 and review your options today.