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What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

Sexual harassment is an issue that is still plaguing workplaces across the country. Workers should be free to perform their work duties in peace, but many are harassed by co-workers and managers solely based on their sex.

Sexual harassment is illegal. Sexual harassment may include requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, and any type of verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Offensive comments about a gender in general can also be considered sexual harassment. While simple teasing is not illegal, frequent or severe incidents that create a hostile or offensive work environment are considered sexual harassment.

While women tend to be victims of sexual harassment, men can be victims, as well. The harasser or the victim can be of either gender, and both can be of the same gender. Read on to learn about popular sexual harassment cases and what to do if you are a victim.

Popular Sexual Harassment Cases

  •  Ani Chopourian vs. Catholic Healthcare West: In 2012, a federal jury in California awarded Ani Chopourian $168 million, which is believed to be the largest judgment in U.S. history for a victim of workplace sexual harassment. The former physician assistant at Mercy General Hospital accused a surgeon of sexual harassment after he would greet her daily by saying, “I’m horny,” and then slapping her bottom. The judge decreased the award to $82,230,484, but the lawyers later agreed on a settlement.
  • Ashley Alford vs. Aaron’s Rents: In 2011, Illinois employee Ashley Alford won a $95 million federal court verdict against Aaron’s Rents in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission case. She repeatedly accused manager Richard Moore of sexual harassment and her employer did nothing. The final straw was when Moore attacked Alford, pinned her to the floor, yanked up her shirt and then ejaculated on her. The jury verdict was later reduced to $41.3 million and attorneys later reached an out-of-court settlement of $6 million.

What to do if You are a Victim

 If you are a victim of sexual harassment, the first step is to tell the offender to stop. If this does not work, follow your company’s anti-harassment policy, if applicable. If there is no policy, contact your supervisor. If the behavior persists, you may need to get the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) involved. Time limits apply, so do this promptly. Once you file a charge, the EEOC will review it and let you know of the next steps.

Once the EEOC closes its investigation, you will be given a Notice of Right to Sue. You can then hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit against your employer in state or federal court.

Contact a New York Sexual Harassment Lawyer

 Sexual harassment in the workplace can affect the victim physically and mentally. A person can suffer extreme stress, anxiety and depression to the point where they no longer want to come to work.

If you are dealing with sexual harassment at work, contact the aggressive attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. We can hold the offender and the employer liable and help you recover compensation for your damages. To learn about your options, give us a call today at (347) 464-8694.

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