New York Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment means behavior and actions that are unwanted, offensive, unwelcome, and sexual in nature. New York State and City Human Rights Law prohibits sexual harassment as a form of both gender discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination.
In New York, there are two kinds of sexual harassment claims, tangible employment action sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment.
Tangible Employment Action Sexual Harassment
The first type of sexual harassment involves a quid pro quo, or this for that. In order to sue for this type of sexual harassment, and employee must show first (1) there are four or more employees at the job and (2) the victim was subjected to unwelcome conduct. Additionally, (3) the harassment was based on sexual advances, conduct of a sexual nature, or similar actions, and (4) either the harassment was done by a supervisor or employer, or, the victim had to go along with the harassment in order to receive a job benefit.
A victim only needs to show one incident of harassment in order to sue.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
The second form of sexual harassment is hostile work environment. A hostile work environment exists “when the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment.” The abuse must be of a sexual nature. This means that if you are unable to perform your job because of the harassment, you can sue. The conduct must be either severe or pervasive. Pervasive means the sexual harassment is ongoing for an extended period of time. However, one severe case can be enough to file an action for sexual harassment.
Some Recent Sexual Harassment Verdicts
In Cheathem v. Ostrow, an employee sued for sexual harassment because an employer required a victim to play the game “Simon Says,” and during the game, he instructed the victim to hop on one foot and expose her bare chest to him. The jury awarded the victim $25,000.00
In Sawicka v. Catena, an employer installed a video camera in the work place restroom and taped the victims using the bathroom. A jury awarded the victims the sum of $350,000.00 and $400,000.00 each.
Victims of sexual harassment have remedies in the courts. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, hire an attorney to fight for your rights.