Protecting Yourself After Nationwide Revelations of Sexual Harassment
Revelations of sexual assault and harassment have taken over the news for the past few months in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Weinstein was a film producer who allegedly sexually harassed more than 50 women. Women are now starting to speak up against this type of abuse and this has led to the creation of the #MeToo campaign, in which celebrities and others have tweeted their personal experiences of being a victim of sexual misconduct.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal under state and federal law. However, many women are afraid to file a claim because they fear workplace retaliation. Many women have worked hard to move up in their careers, and they are afraid that if they say something, they will be viewed as a snitch. This could, in turn, negatively affect their career.
Women can, and should, protect themselves in the workplace. The law is on their side. Here are some ways to get the cycle of sexual abuse to end.
What the Law Says
Under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment in an employment situation is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While minor annoyances and isolated incidents are not covered under this law, harassment becomes unlawful when an employee must continue to endure the offensive conduct in order to stay employed, or the conduct is so severe that a reasonable person would find it intimidating or hostile. In addition, a victim legally cannot face retaliation for filing a claim or testifying against an employer.
Sexual harassment does not go away on its own. It’s up to the victims to be brave and file a claim against the offender. But the burden of preventing sexual harassment is ultimately placed on the employer. This means that the employer must take the appropriate steps to handle claims of sexual harassment and prevent future incidents from occurring. This may include having a written policy in place and providing training for employees. The policy must apply to everyone and punishment must be consistent.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment is common. Translated to “this for that,” this type of harassment is caused by managers and others in authority. It involves a negative employment action (such as a pay cut, demotion or termination) for refusing to give in to the demands of someone in authority. For example, a manager may threaten to terminate an employee who refuses to have sex with him. Quid pro quo sexual harassment tends to correlate with a hostile work environment.
When this happens, a victim must first file a charge with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate and let the victim know of the outcome. If the EEOC finds the claim invalid, the victim can file a lawsuit in court.
Contact NY Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Many women keep quiet about harassment in the workplace, but by doing so, they allow it to continue and affect other people. The law prohibits you from facing retaliation for filing a claim, so take advantage of your legal rights.
If you have faced sexual harassment in the workplace, contact the experienced NY sexual harassment lawyers at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. for help with the next steps. To schedule a consultation, contact our firm today at (347) 464-8694.