Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawyer in NY and NJ

What Is Workplace Sexual Harassment in New York City and New Jersey?


Sexual harassment in New York and New Jersey is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other offensive verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. At Akin & Salaman our New York City and New Jersey sexual harassment attorneys have been protecting men and women who have been the victims of sexual harassment, a hostile work environment and employment discrimination for over 20 years.

An all-too-common form of employment discrimination in New York and New Jersey is sexual harassment, which manifests itself in many forms. Sexual harassment not only damages the victim’s morale and ability to work, but also their outlook on life and their life outside of work, including their relationship with family members.

The New York and New Jersey sexual harassment lawyers at Akin & Salaman know that the effects of sexual harassment in the workplace can be emotionally and financially devastating. Our sexual harassment lawyers are ready to use their legal knowledge and courtroom experience with New York sexual harassment cases to protect your rights as a New York or New Jersey employee and your dignity as a person. Nobody should have to work in an environment where sexual harassment is the status quo. If you believe that you have been sexually harassed at work, call our sexual harassment attorneys in New York City and New Jersey today to schedule a FREE sexual harassment consultation.

What are the two types of sexual harassment? | Sexual Harassment Lawyer

There are two types of New York City and New Jersey sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employer, supervisor, or manager bases various employment decisions upon whether an employee complies with sexual demands. The manager or employer may demand that an employee go out on a date, have sexual intercourse, or allow the employer to touch her in certain ways in order for her to keep her job or obtain a promotion:

In quid pro quo sexual harassment cases, the employee often needs to prove that a tangible employment action, such as firing, demoting, or a refusal to promote occurred as a result of his or her refusal to comply with demands for sex. Since most people are inherently aware that it is wrong or unlawful to sexually proposition an employee, they will often try to disguise the discrimination / retaliation with work performance or some other unrelated act. If you believe you have been the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment contact the sexual harassment Attorneys in New York and New Jersey at Akin & Salaman – Employment Law Attorneys.

Hostile work environment sexual harassment is the more prevalent form of gender discrimination. Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to unwanted sexual advances or conduct that interferes with his or her work performance, or creates a demoralizing and offensive work environment:

A workplace can only be considered a hostile work environment if the demoralizing behavior is caused by the victim’s membership in a protected class (i.e. because of his or her gender / sex). In other words, a supervisor cannot be said to have created a hostile work environment if he acts like a jerk to everybody in his office. However, if he treats women in a manner different from how he treats men, he may be found responsible for the existence of a hostile environment. If you believe you have been the victim of hostile work environment sexual harassment contact the New York and New Jersey sexual harassment lawyers at Akin & Salaman.

Different types of hostile work environment claims stemming from sexual harassment | Sexual Harassment Attorney in New York and New Jersey


Sexual harassment in New York City and New Jersey may come in verbal, written, or physical forms. Here are several examples of harassing behavior that may serve as indications of a hostile work environment:

  • Physical touching and/or assault
  • Inappropriate or lewd remarks
  • Sexually explicit letters, pictures, texts, or emails
  • Sexual epithets
  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Demands for sexual favors
  • Blocking or using intimidating body language
  • Inappropriate or offensive comments about a person’s gender
  • References to an individual’s body parts
  • Asking for the employee to wear tight or revealing clothing

The harasser may be a coworker, manager, supervisor, independent contractor, a customer, or other onsite third-party. The victim may be an employee, a manager or even a non employee like an independent contractor. If you have experienced any of the above at your workplace, contact an experienced New York and  New Jersey sexual Harassment lawyer as soon as possible to learn about your rights and options as an employee. Our New York and New Jersey Sexual harassment lawyers charge no fee unless we recover in your sexual harassment lawsuit or EEOC case.

Is your workplace a hostile environment? |  NY-NJ Sexual harassment Lawyer

In order for your workplace to qualify as a hostile work environment, our New York City sexual harassment lawyer says the following must hold true:

  • The employee who files the complaint must be a member of a legally protected class (gender/sex is a qualifying characteristic).
  • The employee must have been negatively affected by verbal and/or physical actions that were caused by his or her gender.
  • The actions directed towards the employee must have unreasonably interfered with the employee’s ability to work.

Harassment of this type is unlawful and often occurs because of a protected characteristic that the employee possesses, such as race, sex, creed, age, pregnancy, disability, age, sexual orientation, national origin, or military status.

If you believe that you have been treated unfairly, or if you have been asked to perform sexual acts, or if your work environment / atmosphere is hostile with constant sexual overtures, call the sexual harassment lawyers at Akin & Salaman to schedule a FREE consultation in New York and New Jersey.

What the law says about hostile work environment sexual harassment

Under federal and state law, the employee must show that he or she was treated in a way that was “severe or pervasive” enough to have altered the terms and conditions of employment. Luckily, Williams v.The New York City Housing Authority established a lower threshold for hostile work environment under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL).

In Williams v. The New York City Housing Authority, the court determined that a hostile work environment can be established if “the plaintiff has proven that she has been treated less well than other employees because of her gender.” Once an employee proves that he or she has been “treated less well” than other workers, the employer must prove that the conduct was nothing more than “petty slights and trivial inconveniences.” The employer will be liable if it cannot meet this burden.

Since the New York City Administrative Code plays a large role in determining the outcome of hostile work environment and sexual harassment cases, an individual interested in bringing a lawsuit should seek out an attorney well-versed in New York City’s employment laws. The sexual harassment lawyers at Akin & Salaman have the courtroom experience and legal knowledge to help you with your NYC employment law, NYC sexual harassment or NYC hostile work environment claims. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss the details of your case.

How do you prove that hostile environment or sexual harassment occurred at work? | New York City Sexual Harassment Attorney

When determining whether hostile work environment sexual harassment occurred, several factors are taken into account:

  • The severity and frequency of the discriminatory conduct (the standard is different for Title VII / New York State Executive law and the New York City Human Rights Law)
  • Whether the conduct was unreasonable, extreme, outrageous, physical, obscene and offensive
  • Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the employee’s work performance or if the conduct resulted in the employee’s termination or demotion

The facts of each particular case must be carefully reviewed to determine whether a hostile work environment in the legal sense was created. For actions that are considered less severe, multiple incidents must occur for the court to conclude that a hostile work environment existed. However, a single severe event may be enough to render a workplace permanently hostile.

If you are a New York City employee, however, establishing frequency and severity may be of less concern for proving that harassment occurred. According to New York City law, the frequency and severity serve only as matters of concern for establishing the scope of damages. Even less severe incidents may be deemed sufficient to create a hostile work environment.

Employer retaliating against an employee for reporting sexual harassment


If you have faced a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment, you may feel reluctant to take legal action fearing the termination of your employment. After all, your supervisor may threaten make your workplace situation even worse after he or she finds out that you intend to seek legal action. However, rest assured that Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act, New York State Executive Law section 296, and New York City Human Rights Law are all designed to protect you from discrimination and retaliation. After you file a complaint or lawsuit, any actions taken by your employer will be closely scrutinized. If they take any adverse employment actions against you at that time, they may become liable for even more damages in terms of a punitive award.

Many victims of sexual harassment hesitate to act because of fear of retaliation from supervisors and coworkers. However, in doing so, they miss the time limit for filing certain claims. Sexual harassment claims are time-barred, and complaints or lawsuits filed after the time limits are considered invalid. If you believe that you have been a victim of sexual harassment, you must act quickly to ensure the best results.

Federal and State Law Protection for Sexual Harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces the federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, color, sex, gender, religion, and national origin. Employers with 15 or more employees must abide by the EEOC’s federal law.

NJ Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prevents employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of nearly all workplace related actions including recruitment, hiring, interviewing, promotions, compensation, terms, conditions, discharge, and privileges. The terms and conditions prohibit employers from workplace discrimination on the basis of national origin, race, color, creed, age, nationality, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment), domestic partnership or civil union status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, mental and physical disabilities, including AIDS and HIV. The Law Against Discrimination protects employees from intentional discrimination based on any of these characteristics.

Contact an accomplished sexual harassment attorney in New York City for a free consultation

It’s time to protect yourself and take action against your harasser: contact Akin & Salaman today to discuss your options. Our lawyers have a track record of success, and are passionate about defending employees’ right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, hostile work environment and employment discrimination. Even if you are not sure if you want to proceed at this time, call us today at 212-825-1400 for your free consultation and learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones.