In an ideal world, we would all feel comfortable around our supervisors and co-workers in the workplace. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes women—and even men—are sexually harassed by those with whom they work. They may have to deal with flirting, unwanted touching, sexually explicit comments and jokes, and other actions that make them uncomfortable. Sometimes the situation is so severe that the victim is scared to come to work.
Sexual harassment is against the law in New York workplaces. Do not sit in silence and hope the situation will go away. Take legal action and file a claim against your harasser. Do not be afraid of retaliation, since that is also illegal. Read on to find out how to take action.
Documentation is Key
Make sure you understand the difference between teasing and harassing. A one-time incident may not be grounds for a claim, but if your co-workers continually do things to you that make you uncomfortable, such as asking your for sexual favors, making lewd comments, or sharing pornographic images, then you may have a valid claim.
You need to be able to prove that the harassment took place, so thorough documentation is crucial. Make a log of every incident that occurs, including the date, time, employees involved and what was said. If there were any responses to the harassment by yourself or other employees, then be sure to document that, as well.
Once you have taken thorough notes, make copies and give one to your company’s human resources department. If your company does not have a dedicated department, give the copy to the highest-ranking person in the company.
Filing a Claim
Before filing a claim, you should first take the appropriate steps to stop the harassment. This means telling the harasser to stop. If the harassment continues, check to see if your company has an anti-harassment policy. If so, follow the steps. If there is no such policy, talk to your manager or the company’s HR department about the situation. Be sure to give them any documentation you have.
If the harassment still does not stop, then you can file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There are time limits that apply (180 or 300 days), so file your claim promptly.
The EEOC will investigate the complaint by considering the nature of the conduct and the context in which the incidents occurred. Your employer will be liable for harassment if they knew about the harassment and failed to take measures to stop the harassing behavior. The EEOC will determine whether or not the harassment is severe enough to be considered illegal.
Contact a New York Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Do not be afraid to speak up if you have been harassed. You should not be treated badly in the workplace. Under the law, you and your employer should not have to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace.
If you are dealing with sexual harassment at work, contact the aggressive attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. We can help you understand your options. Give us a call and schedule a free consultation today by calling (347) 464-8694