Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

Employment Attorneys Assisting New York City Workers

Employees who are forced to endure a hostile work environment may suffer significantly. They may be humiliated and depressed by the sexual harassment. It may be challenging to face harassers and tell them to stop. If your supervisor is the harasser, or your employer does nothing to correct the situation, you may have a basis to file a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim. The New York City sexual harassment lawyers at the Arcé Law Group may be able to help you recover damages.

Hostile Work Environment Claims

Federal and state laws prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual harassment in workplaces when the employer employs 15 or more employees. Although most provisions of the New York Human Rights Law apply to employers that employ at least four employees, under this law every employee in New York is entitled to work in a place free from sexual harassment. A sexual harassment complaint may be filed under the Human Rights Law against an employer even if you are the only employee.

A hostile work environment is one of two forms of sexual harassment. A hostile work environment may be produced through a coworker, supervisor, manager, or customer’s use of words, jokes, signs, pranks, intimidation, assault, touching, innuendoes, sexually explicit remarks, groping, rape, or physical violence that is sexual in nature or directed at someone due to their sex. The conduct needs to be unwanted and either frequent or pervasive. Each case of hostile work environment sexual harassment needs to be analyzed individually.

The conduct in question must generate a work environment that would be hostile, offensive, or intimidating to reasonable people of the same sex. An incident of teasing or a one-off remark is not likely to rise to the level of a hostile work environment. Moreover, you need not be a direct victim of the harassment to be affected by a hostile work environment and to bring a claim. A hostile work environment may adversely affect every employee in the workplace.

Harassment may be most intimidating when it comes from a manager or supervisor. When an upper-level manager creates the hostile work environment, they act as an agent of the employer, and most likely the employer may be held vicariously liable. An employer may also be strictly liable if a low-level manager does the harassing, if they have enough control over the victim's work conditions.

For an employer to be held liable for hostile work environment sexual harassment occurring between two coworkers, you will need to show that the employer knew or should have known about the hostile work environment but did not take steps to prevent it. If an employer has a solid sexual harassment policy and does take steps to correct a hostile work environment once it is reported, it will likely have a defense.

Consult a Knowledgeable New York City Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

Each hostile work environment claim is unique. You should consult a New York City attorney about the details of your situation and follow any procedures for reporting harassment that may be found in your employment handbook. The employment lawyers at Arcé Law Group can assist you with a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim. We represent sexual harassment victims in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, and we also maintain offices in Newark and Philadelphia from which we advocate for workers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Contact us at 212-248-0120 or via our online form to set up a free consultation.

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