Coworker Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can take many different forms in the workplace. It may come in the form of a supervisor who brushes up against an employee inappropriately or makes an outright demand for a sexual favor in exchange for a promotion or other benefit. It can also take the form of a hostile work environment that arises from a coworker’s (or multiple coworkers’) sexual harassment. Rockland County sexual harassment lawyer Valerie J. Crown represents people throughout the Greater New York region who have been adversely affected by coworker sexual harassment, and we are here to serve your legal needs.Holding a Coworker Accountable for Sexual Harassment
Most people have had a coworker (or perhaps several) with whom it was difficult to get along. While this can be annoying and make work life difficult, simply having a coworker who is offensive in one way or another is probably not enough for there to be a finding of liability against an employer for a hostile work environment. However, if a coworker does things like talk about sexual matters constantly, send sexually explicit or flirtatious text messages, call certain employees names like “baby” or “sweetie,” or make demeaning comments about one gender in particular, that person may be engaging in conduct that is actionable as sexual harassment. Inappropriate touching, sexual jokes, and sex-related questions can also create a hostile work environment in many cases. Even if federal law may not cover the situation, the broader protections for employees under the New York State Human Rights Law may apply.
Many victims of coworker sexual harassment are reluctant to come forward, believing that they can handle the situation on their own or fearing negative repercussions from formally complaining about a coworker’s actions. However, if you have been sexually harassed by a coworker, it is important that you speak to an attorney about the unpleasant and demeaning situation in which you have found yourself through no fault of your own. There are both state and federal laws (such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) in place that allow a person, who has been sexually harassed by a coworker, to take legal action, but there are time limitations that must be observed in most instances.
If coworker sexual harassment is found to have contributed to a hostile work environment, it may be possible to hold the employer liable for the misconduct. This is true regardless of whether the coworker is the same gender as the victim or the opposite gender. However, the conduct that forms the basis of the claim must be severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile or abusive working environment. In deciding liability, the court will look at factors such as how frequently the offensive conduct happened, whether a single coworker or multiple coworkers took part in the actions at issue, and whether the victim was singled out by the alleged perpetrator. Courts review alleged sexual harassment both objectively and subjectively, asking “Would a reasonable person have taken offense, and did the plaintiff actually take offense?”Get Advice from a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Rockland County
In successful sexual harassment cases, there may be multiple remedies available to the plaintiff, including compensatory damages and injunctive relief. At the Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, we are here to help you assert a claim based on coworker sexual harassment that led to a hostile work environment, but it is important that you act with due diligence in asserting your legal rights. For an appointment, call us now at 845.708.5900 or contact us online. You can also call Valerie’s cell phone at 845.598.8253. In addition, we handle quid pro quo sexual harassment claims and other workplace litigation, including workers’ compensation and ERISA disability cases, in Rockland County and elsewhere in the Greater New York area. There is no charge for your consultation with an attorney, and everything that you tell us will be held in strict confidence.