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NYC Employment Lawyer > Blog > Employment Discrimination > How Can I tell If I Am Being Sexually Harassed At Work?

How Can I tell If I Am Being Sexually Harassed At Work?


Reading people is a skill that not everyone has, and misunderstandings do happen. However, most types of sexual harassment are unsubtle enough to notice. If you feel as though you are being sexually harassed on the job, you have the right to take action against the person who is harassing you, and against the company if it does not appropriately handle the matter. Contacting an experienced attorney to discuss your case can help determine how to proceed.

Two Separate Types

Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine sexual harassment is happening because there are different behavior patterns that can rise to that level. New York law recognizes two types of sexual harassment, referred to as ‘quid pro quo’ and ‘hostile work environment.’ The former is a much more “classical” form of such behavior, but it is seen much less often in this day and age than the ‘hostile work environment’ type of claim.

‘Quid pro quo’ sexual harassment is the type made well known by film and television  a worker’s coworker or superior promising advancement or some other advantage in exchange for sexual favors. A hostile work environment is harder to define; it creates an environment that “interferes with an individual’s work performance,” essentially making it harder or impossible for them to do their job. This standard can be subjective, but reasonableness is a guide for most courts.

Making Your Complaint

If you believe that you have a case of sexual harassment that cannot be managed in-house, it is important to keep in mind that there may be other grounds you can add to your complaint. For example, sexual harassment claims can often be presented as sex or gender discrimination, because the offensive conduct plausibly might not have happened to someone of another gender. This is particularly common if one is filing their complaint under the New York Human Rights Law, with its expansive definitions.

New York State has also modified its laws in recent years to make it easier for victims to file claims. The most important is the elimination of the “severe or pervasive” requirement: in years past, sexual harassment had to rise to the level of “severe or pervasive” conduct in order to be actionable. As of 2020, this is no longer the case. While the law still does not allow claims to be brought over inconsequential events like isolated jokes or teasing, the burden is somewhat lower than it used to be, which is helpful to plaintiffs.

Call A New York Employment Discrimination Attorney

Sexual harassment can happen to anyone of any gender, age, or appearance. If you have been a victim of this kind of behavior, calling a New York City employment discrimination attorney from Mansell Law, LLC can help answer your questions about how to proceed in seeking remedies. Contact our offices today at 646-921-8900 for a free consultation.



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