In July of 2016, Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes split ways with the Fox News Network, following numerous accusations of sexual harassment against Ailes. The most notable of these accusations was brought forth by Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who filed a lawsuit against Ailes claiming that because she refused his sexual advances, he “sabotaged” her career.
Carlson’s allegation of sexual assault are disheartening, but they are not a first for women in the workplace; despite the advancement that females have made, sexual harassment continues to be a pervasive problem.
Defining Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission details that sexual harassment can include:
- Unwelcome sexual advances;
- Requests for sexual favors; and
- Any other verbal or physical harassment that is sexual in nature.
Understanding what is sexual harassment within a workplace hierarchy can be difficult. However, it is important to note that an employer is obligated to treat their employees in a manner that is not dependent upon employees’ sex. Further, harassment does not always have to be specifically targeted – for example, an employer could make derogatory remarks about women in general, and this would be illegal, even if a specific woman was not named.
When Is Harassment Illegal?
To reiterate, a person’s employer cannot make unwelcome sexual advances, request sexual favors, or retaliate against a person because of their sex or because of anything related to their refusal to participate in sexual acts. Sexual harassment is illegal when it interferes with an employee’s ability to do their job, or when it creates a hostile or offensive work environment.
As a note, harassment of all types in the workplace are prohibited. In addition to harassment based on a person’s gender, this also includes harassment based on sexual orientation, race, religion, age, or ethnicity.
Are You a Victim of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sexual harassment in the workplace can be extremely uncomfortable, and may make you feel as though your opportunities are dictated by your gender or your participation in sexual events. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, our sexual harassment lawyer NYC can help you to understand your rights to bring forth a discrimination suit and what your options are for bringing these illegal options to light.
Many people do not want to bring sexual harassment claims to light because they are afraid of repercussions or being viewed negatively by employers or coworkers. At the offices of Ricotta & Marks, P.C., our New York sexual harassment lawyer will advocate for you and ensure that you are protected from retaliation. To schedule your free consultation today, call us now or use our online contact form to tell us about your case.