WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT UNWANTED SEXUAL ADVANCES IN YOUR WORKPLACE

A powerful democrat, Vito Lopez, resigned from his position as a Brooklyn Assemblyman after an ethics panel reported on his sexual harassment of female members of his staff. The harassment took the form of groping and other unwanted advances of a sexual nature. A fine of more than $300,000 was imposed by the panel. Unwelcome sexual harassment and demands for sex in the workplace are unlawful. If this is happening to you, contact a New York City sexual harassment attorney to learn what you can do about it.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment

Unlawful sexual harassment can include unwelcome actions of a sexual nature that become a condition of employment. For example, when a person with authority in the company, e.g., a supervisor or manager, makes employment decisions that have consequences for the employee on the basis of whether the employee submits to or rejects the demands for sexual favors. This type of unlawful sexual harassment is often referred to as a quid pro quo. Some examples of employment consequences are:

  • Desirable or undesirable work assignments
  • Hiring and firing
  • Promotions or downgrades
  • Good or bad work reviews

Sexually hostile work environment

Unwanted sexual advances in your New York City workplace can create a hostile and offensive environment that can intimidate workers and interfere with job performance.  The harassment can be verbal or physical and can consist of frequent episodes of harassing behavior or an isolated but severe incident. Harassing behavior could take the form of  repeated requests for dates in the face of flat-out refusals, leering in a sexually suggestive fashion, passing around jokes that have a sexual theme, circulating pornographic material through company emails or otherwise or sexting and sending sexually-explicit photos and text messages to a mobile phone. The harassment can be initiated by co-workers, managers and supervisors or individuals who do not work for the company, but who are present on a regular basis, such as salespeople and clients. The harassing conduct may be directed toward one individual or toward many of the employees.

Broadcast the fact that this conduct is unacceptable

The victim should protest the harassment as soon as possible, informing the harasser that the conduct is not appreciated and must stop. It is very important to make this clear to the harasser in all cases, particularly when the harasser may be under the impression that the advances are welcomed. This does not have to be done in a direct confrontation, so long as the victim makes their rejection of this conduct apparent.

Before taking your complaint to higher authorities, promptly consult the experienced, knowledgeable attorneys at the Akin Law Group for guidance on this serious problem.