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A primer on sexual harassment in New York

It seems that a floodgate has been opened when it comes to accusations of workplace sexual harassment. You need only turn on the television to hear the latest allegations of sexual harassment against a prominent public figure. One unanticipated result of these high-profile cases is that everyday women may feel more empowered to report their own experiences of harassment at work.

You may be wondering how to report your own experiences, make the harassment stop and receive compensation for your suffering. The first step is to understand the laws regarding sexual harassment in New York. In this post, we'll go over the basics of sexual harassment law in our state-and what you can do about harassment at your workplace.

Defining sexual harassment

In New York, sexual harassment is defined as a form of gender-based discrimination that involves unwelcome language or actions. It is often perpetrated by a powerful male employee against female coworkers. Harassment that creates a hostile work environment or is used as a basis for employment decisions is against state law.

What constitutes sexual harassment?

There is a wide spectrum of conduct that can be considered sexual harassment. It can be verbal, visual, or, in severe cases, physical. Some examples of harassing behavior include:

  • Making sexually explicit remarks
  • Telling offensive or inappropriate jokes
  • Making sexually suggestive requests
  • Displaying explicit imagery
  • Viewing pornography at work
  • Sending explicit material to someone else
  • Pantomiming sex acts
  • Demanding sexual favors
  • Coercing someone into performing sex acts

Workplace sexual harassment is not necessarily limited to the work site. A supervisor or coworker can continue to harass someone outside of work by making phone calls, sending texts or showing up at their residence. People outside of your job, such as teachers, landlords, service providers or personal care assistants can also commit sexual harassment.

Fighting sexual harassment

Being the victim of sexual harassment can feel overwhelming. Merely getting through the workday can be difficult enough, let alone finding the strength to pursue legal action. That's why it may be a good idea to consult a New York City attorney who specializes in workplace sexual harassment. Having a legal advocate in your corner is a major advantage. Sexual harassment is painful, but you do not have to go through it on your own.

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