Sexual Harassment by Managers and Owners – Hostile Work Environment

Sexual harassment at the workplace is illegal in New York and in New Jersey. As defined by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, New York State Executive Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, sexual harassment at work is a form of sex (gender) based discrimination.

There are two types of sexual harassment. With Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment often involves a person of seniority (of the Managers or Owners) demanding that the employee engage in sexual acts to preserve or advance his/her carrier. With Sexual Harassment resulting in a Hostile Work Environment, the harasser can be a Manager or Owner, but it can also be a co-worker that is not senior in title to the employee being sexually harassed.

New York sexual harassment laws and New Jersey sexual harassment laws provide some of the most comprehensive protections for employees that are being sexually harassed. Regardless of whether you are being victimized as a result of demands for sex (quid pro quo sexual harassment) or you are forced to work in a hostile work environment resulting from sexual harassment you should immediately call one of the New York sexual harassment attorneys or the New Jersey sexual harassment lawyers at the Akin Law Group.

Who do you complain to if you are being sexually harassed by the manager or owner?

Many companies have an employee handbook or have posted signs with hotlines or some other person to contact (like the human resources administrator) if you are being sexually harassed.  Other smaller business may not have an employee handbook or post any signs for you to contact anyone. In the alternative, you may be advised or directed to file a complaint with the Division of Human Rights or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (which may be understaffed or not quite as sensitive to your particular claim). Although all of these are acceptable options, your better alternative may be to contact a sexual harassment attorney or sexual harassment law firm, like the Akin Law Group, to better protect yourself and obtain the maximum recovery for which you are entitled.

In many businesses there are no human resource administrator and no employee handbooks.  Often, all complaints and concerns are reported to a manager or to the owner of the company directly.  In these types of businesses, a very serious problem arises when the person committing the sexual harassment is in fact the owner of the company. With a manager that is sexually harassing employees, the employee could ultimately report the illegal sexual harassment to the owner, but what happens when the sexual harasser is the owner of the company. Clearly, reporting the sexual advances or sexual acts of the owner to a manager or supervisor who is subordinate to the owner is not going to result in any real resolution. Under these circumstances, your best avenue maybe to speak to a sexual harassment attorney and allow a professional to help guide you whether it be a resolution, a re-assignment, or formal litigation.

Do I still have a case if I did not report the sexually harassment by the manager or owner?

A person that is being sexually harassed at work by a co-worker or a subordinate employee has an obligation to report the harassment to human resources or a manager / owner of the company. The company then must conduct an impartial and thorough investigation while protecting the employee that filed the complaint from retaliation and further sexual harassment, regardless of the company’s ultimate finding. The company may avoid liability if it takes the proper measures (for example, by terminating the harasser) and protecting the employee that was harassed.  However, when the employee is being sexually harassed by a manager or an owner, there is no obligation or requirement for the employee to file a complaint. The company will be liable for any adverse employment action sustained by the victim of sexual harassment, by the victim of a hostile work environment from sexual harassment, including compensation for emotional and psychological injuries, even if no monetary damage has occurred.

As such, anyone that is being sexually harassed by a supervisor, manager or the owner of the company should immediately contact one of the sexual harassment lawyers at the Akin Law Group for a free and confidential consultation.

What managers and owners need to know about sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.”

If a manger sees an employee being sexually harassed, even if it’s by a individual that is a senior to the manager (President or Owner of the company for example) the Manager must act to protect the employee and warn the harasser to stop the sexual harassment.  In the case of an owner, he /she must put an end to sexual harassment by terminating the harasser or otherwise protecting the victim employee eve if the harasser is a manager or supervisor that is a good producer for the company (a glorified sales manager or a rainmaker bringing in lucrative business).

The New York sexual harassment attorneys, the New York hostile work environment attorneys, the New Jersey sexual harassment attorneys, and the New Jersey hostile work environment attorneys at Akin Law Group will fight passionately and effectively for your rights.

If you feel that you have been sexually harassed or have been subjected to a hostile work environment by a manger, an owner or a co-worker, call and speak to one of the sexual harassment lawyers at the Akin law Group at 212-825-1400.

The consultation is always Free and Confidential.