IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT AGAINST JOB APPLICANTS UNLAWFUL?

The law says that employers are prohibited from turning a blind eye to sexual harassment in the workplace. But does it offer protections to job applicants as well?

A lawsuit filed on July 21st illustrates that the law protects both job applicants and employees from sexual harassment. The suit, which was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), claims that a manager at a Subway restaurant in Albany sexually harassed two female teenage job seekers by offering them employment in exchange for sexual favors. The manager sent the applicants sexually inappropriate texts requesting that they have sex with him in exchange for a job. After the two women refused to comply with his request, they were not hired.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act says that sexual harassment is unlawful regardless of whether it is directed at an employee or a job applicant. Managers or supervisors who demand sexual favors in exchange for a job are committing unlawful quid pro quo sexual harassment.

What is quid pro quo sexual harassment?

Quid pro quo harassment is one of the two forms of sexual harassment (the other form is hostile work environment, which you can read about here). This form of harassment occurs when any aspect of an applicant or employee’s job is linked to his or her compliance with sexual demands. If an individual refuses to submit to the demand, he or she may be retaliated against in a number of ways. Common forms of retaliation include refusal to hire, termination, verbal harassment, ridicule, demotion, denial of benefits, and failure to promote.

What should you do if you face sexual harassment as a job applicant?

It is usually recommended that employees who face sexual harassment at the job report the misbehavior to their HR department or an individual in charge of handling complaints as soon as possible. Doing this, however, may be difficult or perhaps even impossible for a job applicant. After all, an applicant may not know enough about their prospective employer to have a clear sense of what the usual procedure for reporting inappropriate behavior is.

Fortunately, job seekers who face sexual harassment from a prospective employer can file lawsuits. In New York City, it is possible for applicants to file lawsuits on a local, state, or federal level. It is always more beneficial for individuals to file local lawsuits, as the city’s employment law applies to employers with four or more employees (Title VII only applies to employers that have 15 or more employees), offers more protection (no cap on damages) and has a lower threshold.

Call the Akin Law Group for a free consultation

If you have faced sexual harassment as a job applicant in New York City, you should seek a lawyer that is knowledgeable in aspects of city, state, and federal law. Doing so will help you achieve optimal results in court. The lawyers at the Akin Law Group are highly knowledgeable in all aspects of employment law, and have a track record of defending individuals who have been wronged by their actual or prospective employers. Call us today at 866.685.5163 as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation.