Sexual Harassment Laws in New York
Author: Employment Discrimination attorney Alena Shautsova
According to the sexual harassment report generated in 2016 by the respective authority in the United States, 25% to 85% of women in the country have reported having experienced sexual harassment at their places of work. See "Report of the Co-Chairs of the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace." Most women do not undertake the law path due to the fear of retaliation.
Even though the entire sexual harassment focus has been diverted to women, also men suffer from social harassment. The generated report has revealed that about 18% of men in the country have received unwanted sexual attention and coercion.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment refers to a form of discrimination based on the sex of an individual. It also involves sexual orientation, perceived sex, gender identity, and being transgender. Alternatively, sexual harassment is considered unwelcome and has a touch of sexual nature. Note that the act is deemed to be sexual harassment when:
- The conduct is executed explicitly or implicitly to secure employment.
- The submission or rejection is used to make an employment-related decision.
- The effect or purpose has a negative impact, interferes with an individual's work performance, or is intimidating. It is also creating a hostile and offensive work environment for individuals of a particular gender.
Sexual harassment includes other things such as:
- Annoying sexual propositions.
- An individual is taking unwanted actions due to their sexual gender.
- Discussing sexual acts.
- Irritating verbal advances.
- Molestation, rape, sexual battery, or other attempts to commit the above.
- An offer for employment or other forms of benefit in exchange for sex.
All the behavior mentioned above is considered sexual harassment. In New York, there are federal laws that protect the residents against sexual harassment. This act is entirely prohibited categorized under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the state level, sexual harassment behavior is prohibited by the New York Human Rights Law operating in the region.
Note that these laws are applied to the employers in the United States regardless of the number of employees they have. Under all the state laws and the New York laws, sexual harassment is considered discrimination within the employment sector. Apart from the major laws, local governments enforce their laws to manage the same.
Across New York, the Human Rights Laws are in charge of the municipal laws that fight against discrimination and sexual harassment. Generally, the New York federal laws operate as the general charge of all the local governments operating across the country. The federal and state laws only recognize a couple of sexual harassment.
There is the hostile work environment and quid pro quo, which is a Latin word. Note that these types of sexual harassment can happen both to males and females or between individuals of the same sex.
The Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
This type of sexual harassment and discrimination happens when in cases where the offending individuals are severe or pervasive to destroy the normal condition of the worki9ng environment. Also, it creates an interfering or intimidating working environment for the individuals within the surrounding.
It is vital to understand that you can easily experience a hostile work environment even if you are not the main target of discrimination or sexual harassment.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
This is a Latin phrase that refers to "this for that" and "something for something" Alternatively, the entire phrase brings on the table the entire meaning of exchanging something to get something else. This happens especially when someone requests sex in exchange for qualifying for the job opportunity.
Quid pro quo is mostly considered as an offer for an 8individual to agree on someone. Also, it might be valued as a threat for someone to agree on something.
The New Laws in New York
New York legislation laws are meant to protect individuals against sexual harassment and discrimination, which had become dominant across the United States. These laws have expanded to securing a considerable area, including workplaces for contractors, domestic employees, covering employers of all sizes regardless of employees’ immigration status, whether paid or unpaid.
The main agenda of the laws is to ensure that all the employees are free from sexual harassment and discrimination and enable them to remain productive. In New York, employees undergo regular training to allow them to understand the laws governing their well-being across their place of work.
The laws prohibit various forms of contractual within job places ensuring all the employees are safe and their rights are protected within the employment sector. Here are the minimum requirements for the employers in New York State to prevent sexual harassment and comply with the most recent regulations:
“Every employer in the State of New York is required to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy pursuant to Section 201-g of the Labor Law. An employer that does not adopt the model policy must ensure that the policy that they adopt meets or exceeds the following minimum standards. The policy must: i) prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights; ii) provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment; iii) include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, and a statement that there may be applicable local laws; iv) include a complaint form; v) include a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties; vi) inform employees of their rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially; vii) clearly state that sexual harassment is considered a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory and managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior to continue; and viii) clearly state that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving sexual harassment is unlawful. Employers must provide each employee with a copy of its policy in writing. Employers should provide employees with the policy in the language spoken by their employees.”
New York City Sexual Harassment Laws
The New York City Human Rights law on sexual harassment is located in Title 8 of the city's administrative code.
§ 8-602 Civil Action to enjoin discriminatory harassment; equitable remedies.
a. Whenever a person interferes by threats, intimidation or coercion or attempts to interfere by threats, intimidation or coercion with the exercise or enjoyment by any person of rights secured by the constitution or laws of the United States, the constitution or laws of this state, or local law of the city and such interference or attempted interference is motivated in whole or in part by the victim's actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual and reproductive health decisions, sexual orientation, age, whether children are, may or would be residing with such victim, marital status, partnership status, disability, or immigration or citizenship status as defined in chapter 1 of this title, the corporation counsel, at the request of the city commission on human rights or on the corporation counsel's own initiative, may bring a civil action on behalf of the city for injunctive and other appropriate equitable relief in order to protect the peaceable exercise or enjoyment of the rights secured.
b. An action pursuant to subdivision a of this section may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction.
c. Violation of an order issued pursuant to subdivision a of this section may be punished by a proceeding for contempt brought pursuant to article 19 of the judiciary law and, in addition to any relief thereunder, a civil penalty may be imposed not exceeding $10,000 for each day that the violation continues. (Am. L.L. 2018/063, 1/19/2018, eff. 10/16/2018; Am. L.L. 2019/020, 1/20/2019, eff. 5/20/2019; Am. L.L. 2020/058, 6/29/2020, eff. 8/28/2020)
§ 8-603 Discriminatory harassment; civil penalties.
a. No person shall by force or threat of force, knowingly injure, intimidate or interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to such other person by the constitution or laws of this state or by the constitution or laws of the United States or by local law of the city when such injury, intimidation, interference, oppression or threat is motivated in whole or in part by the victim's actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual and reproductive health decisions, sexual orientation, age, marital status, partnership status, disability or immigration or citizenship status, as defined in chapter 1 of this title.
b. No person shall knowingly deface, damage or destroy the real or personal property of any person for the purpose of intimidating or interfering with the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to the other person by the constitution or laws of this state or by the constitution or laws of the United States or by local law of the city when such defacement, damage or destruction of real or personal property is motivated in whole or in part by the victim's actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual and reproductive health decisions, sexual orientation, age, marital status, partnership status, or whether children are, may be, or would be residing with such victim, disability or immigration or citizenship status, as defined in chapter 1 of this title.
c. Any person who violates subdivision a or b of this section shall be liable for a civil penalty of not more than $100,000 for each violation, which may be recovered by the corporation counsel in an action or proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction. (Am. L.L. 2018/063, 1/19/2018, eff. 10/16/2018; Am. L.L. 2019/020, 1/20/2019, eff. 5/20/2019; Am. L.L. 2020/058, 6/29/2020, eff. 8/28/2020)
§ 8-604 Disposition of civil penalties.
Any civil penalties recovered by the corporation counsel pursuant to this chapter shall be paid into the general fund of the city.
Statute Of Limitations For Work Harassment Claims in New York Including Sexual Harassment
Note that the time limit for Sexual Harassment claims under the NYCHRL and the NYSHRL is now three years from the date of the last incident of Sexual Harassment effective August 12, 2020.