Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

Workplace Rights Attorney Assisting People in Rockland County and Beyond

Sexual harassment can take many forms in the workplace, but the motivation is usually the same: to assert power over the victim and make them feel subservient. People who have been subjected to such treatment may be afraid to report the offending party for fear of retaliation. However, unless people who have been adversely affected by sexual harassment in the workplace speak up, nothing will be done, and this type of deplorable conduct will continue in the future. Rockland County sexual harassment lawyer Valerie J. Crown advocates for employees who have been victims of hostile work environment sexual harassment, whether it is created by their supervisors or their coworkers, as they stand up for their rights.

As in other types of sexual harassment cases, there are important filing deadlines that must be followed in hostile work environment sexual harassment cases. Since sexual harassment claims, including those arising from a hostile work environment, are considered claims of discrimination under federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a hostile work environment case often begins by filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Under federal law, a person who is sexually harassed at work should file a charge within 300 days of the event giving rise to the complaint. This is a very short time period as compared with, for example, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit. You should promptly retain an attorney to ensure that you meet the appropriate deadlines.

Going Forward with a Sexual Harassment Complaint in New York

The EEOC has an obligation to investigate charges filed with it by people who believe that they have been victims of a hostile work environment or another type of harassment, such as quid pro quo harassment. Once the investigation is completed, the EEOC may attempt to mediate the dispute between the victim and the employer, or it may issue a “notice of the right to sue” to the victim. The second step is to file a federal lawsuit seeking compensation for the wrong that was done. (A person who is sexually harassed in the workplace in New York State may have additional legal options under state laws.)

Of course, not every uncomfortable situation in a place of employment will give rise to a hostile work environment sexual harassment complaint. Instead, actions or behavior that discriminate against a member of a protected group, such as a group defined by gender, are subject to Title VII. The behavior or communication must be pervasive (rather than just a single, off-color remark by a co-worker), significant, and severe enough to disrupt the employee’s work or interfere with his or her career progress. It must also be reasonable, under the circumstances, to assume that the employer was aware of the offending conduct and did not intervene in a sufficient manner. To understand the difference, consider two situations: one in which a visiting salesperson tells a “dirty joke” that is offensive to an employee who overhears it and another in which “locker room talk” is a daily pattern among an employee’s coworkers, including her supervisor, to the point at which the employee cannot concentrate on her work and falls behind on daily tasks. Most likely, the first situation would not be actionable, but the second probably would result in a finding of liability against the employer.

Schedule an Appointment with a Hostile Work Environment Lawyer in Rockland County

If you believe that you have been a victim of a hostile work environment and are ready to take legal action against your employer, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., we pursue hostile work environment and other sexual harassment cases throughout Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, and Westchester Counties, as well as in Greater New York City. For a free consultation, call us at 845-708-5900 or call Valerie’s cell phone at 845-598-8253 at any hour of day or night. We also handle cases related to nursing home negligence, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, car accidents, and Social Security Disability benefits.