Pornography in the Workplace

Viewing of pornographic videos or pictures at work may create a hostile work environment for employees and co-workers who are offended by these displays. Such an act, if it offends others, cannot be deemed a matter of free speech or any other legally protected right.

The experiencing sexual harassment attorneys at the Akin Law Group are ready to assist anyone that has been subjected to sexual harassment by the presence of pornography and obscene pictures or videos at work.  The Sexual Harassment laws in New York and New Jersey, (in addition to federal law) provide protection to workers that have been subjected to a hostile work environment by being exposes to pornographic pictures or pornographic videos.

 

Is it improper to view pornography at work?

Viewing pornographic material is most certainly not something that should be occurring at work.  A hostile work environment is created when any unwelcome act of a sexual nature (including pornography) offends others in the workplace and unreasonably interferes with their ability to perform their duties. Although a single event may rise to the level of sexual harassment, pervasive and ongoing activities will surely exacerbate the conditions. Although an employee can ask the perpetrator to stop viewing pornographic material, such a request is often embarrassing or impractical, especially if the perpetrator is a supervisor, a manager or an owner

 

The legal consequences of viewing pornography at work

No employee should be viewing pornography at work. Even if we were to assume that no one is seeing the obscene videos or pictures, surely someone viewing pornography is not doing their job while engaged in this activity; which alone could be grounds for termination.

Viewing pornography at work is not appropriate. Although men, more often than women, view pornography at work, creating a hostile work environment from sexual harassment, there are instances in which men are subjected to unwanted sexual harassment by other men, and at times, by women viewing pornographic or obscene material at work. Men on men and women on women sexual harassment is also reality in our world. For any employee to access pornography at the workplace will most certainly create a hostile work environment from the sexually charged atmosphere. An employee who creates a hostile work environment by viewing pornography will most probably be terminated since such an employee would be exposing the company to a possible sexual harassment claim.

 

Pornography at work; can I be fired for complaining?

Very often when an employee sees someone viewing pornography, especially if it is a supervisor, a manager or an owner of the company, they tend to ignore the act despite feeling embarrassed. There are many cases in which a person viewing pornography intentionally views it in such a manner so that another employee (especially someone that they are targeting) is able to see it. We have seen many instances where the perpetrator (often a man) will ask a woman that walks in on him viewing pornography if she likes what she sees, or if she would be “into it”, etc., in the hope of engaging in an illegal sexual act with her.

For anyone that is subjected to a hostile work environment from a supervisor or co-worker viewing pornographic material, should (1) ask them politely but firmly not to view such in their presence and (2) report the incident to a higher manager or to HR (and make sure to document the complaint filed, in writing if possible). Although the person that objects to being sexually harassed by way of pornography is not supposed to be subjected to any retaliation, there are instances when retaliation is exactly what occurs. The person making the complaint is either ridiculed, called names, given more difficult task, written up for fictitious claims or worst, terminated from employment. If you have faced any type of retaliation for reporting sexual harassment, you should immediately contact the Akin Law Group and allow one of our attorneys to help you make the recovery you deserve for both, the sexual harassment and the retaliation that followed.

 

Laws against viewing pornography at work

In New York City, New York State, and in New Jersey both local and federal laws protect victims of a hostile work environment that results from pornography.  In New York City the Administrative Code of the City of New York § 8-101, in New York State the Human Rights Law, Executive Law § 296, in New Jersey the Law Against Discrimination (N.J.S.A. 10:5-12) and on a Federal Level Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000 e) protects employees against a hostile work environment that results from pornographic or obscene material being viewed at work.

The New York Sexual Harassment attorneys at the Akin Law Group and the New Jersey Sexual Harassment lawyers at the Akin Law Group are here to help. We will treat you with the compassion, care and consideration that you deserve. Our consultation is always Free and always Confidential. We will handle your claim in a very discrete and expeditious manner.

Call and speak privately with one of our attorneys at (212) 825-1400.