Sexual Harassment At Work
Sexual harassment is prohibited in the United States and in New York. In fact, a person who is working in the “city” (any one of the five New York boroughs Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island or Bronx) is protected against sexual harassment discrimination on three different levels: Federal through Title VII, New York State Human Rights law and New York City Human Rights law. It does not matter who the harasser is: a supervisor, an owner or a co-worker: an employer has to undertake measures to prevent it and to address and illuminate it.
Sexual harassment is one the most common types of harassment at work, and it may take different forms: hostile environments disparate treatment, quid pro quo harassment.
If somebody feels uncomfortable due to jokes of sexual nature; postings and display of sexual materials in the office; training materials that focus on sexuality of any gender or transgender: most likely they are victims of sexual harassment in the form of hostile work environment. The key here is that the subject of harassment does not welcomes it and is not a willing participant of the prohibited conduct.
Qiud pro quo harassment takes place when a worker is forced to succumb to the demands sexual in nature in order to keep their job; salary; receive any benefit; or in general “in exchange” for something an abuser is promising.
It is important to know that for years, a person who was discriminated because of his/her sexual orientation would find recourse only under the State or City laws. This is not the case anymore. The EEOC has held that discrimination against an individual because that person is transgender (also known as gender identity discrimination) is discrimination because of sex and therefore is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See Macy v. Department of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821 (April 20, 2012). The Commission has also found that claims by lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals alleging sex-stereotyping state a sex discrimination claim under Title VII. See Veretto v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0120110873 (July 1, 2011); Castello v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Request No. 0520110649 (Dec. 20, 2011).
An experienced attorney can help to evaluate the situation and advise as to the next steps. Please contact us at 917-885-2261 with questions.