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Hostile Work Environments and Sexual Harassment

May 22

man inappropriately touching woman's shoulderIt started as an inappropriate comment overheard at the watercooler. Then, the comments became more direct. Your supervisor made comments about your outfits, appearance, and asked questions about your private life. You tried to brush it off. But then he started to linger by your desk. He would stand behind you while you work, placing his hand on your shoulder. You started to dress differently so he wouldn’t bother you, but instead, he just continued to harass you. Now you wonder if you should look for a new job because you can’t be in that office one more day.

Does this sound familiar to you? When your place of employment becomes a hostile work environment fueled by sexual harassment, you need to stand up for your rights. You may fear repercussions but it’s important that you serve as an advocate for yourself–because you never know who else may be suffering, too. If you are a victim of a hostile work environment, you need a strong legal counsel who will fight for your rights every step of the way. You need Brown Kwon & Lam.

What is a Hostile Work Environment?

Under New York law, a hostile work environment is created when discriminatory harassment in the workplace occurs. This type of behavior is illegal under federal and state laws. Such legislation which prohibits this behavior includes:

The types of discriminatory behaviors included in a hostile work environment may include unwanted and unwelcomed actions and comments based on race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.

However, sexual harassment can also be part of a hostile work environment claim, though it is not required.

Sexual Harassment at Work: New York Hostile Work Environments

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sexual harassment may occur in the workplace in a variety of ways and to anyone.

Because there are two types of sexual harassment — hostile work environment and quid pro quo — there are distinctions in each.

If a supervisor or coworker acts in a way that exposes another to unwanted sexual behavior, they may have committed hostile work environment sexual harassment.  This behavior works to offend, humiliate, or distress the victim. Common hostile work environment sexual harassment behaviors include:

While similar, a quid pro quo sexual harassment case typically involves a direct supervisor or higher up employer who is seeking sexual favors in return for something within that supervisor’s jurisdiction like a raise, promotion, etc.

How To Prove Sexual Harassment

To prove sexual harassment took place, the courts will review the following:

Sexual Harassment Hostile Work Environment: Seek Justice

In the age of the #MeToo movement, now more than ever, employers should know to be mindful of such discriminatory, horrific actions. But when it happens, know that your voice and your story matter. Do not let this behavior continue. Let Brown Kwon & Lam represent you in your sexual harassment case. Contact us today.

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