It can be quite common for romances to ignite in the workplace. Perhaps a friendship emerges between coworkers that turns into something more. Maybe two people in different departments meet at the office party. Although romances can happen anywhere and they can be healthy when they develop organically, there is a fine line between what is appropriate office behavior and what is not.
Say, for example, a coworker or a manager makes an advance toward you when you are both working. This would never be an appropriate action for the workplace, and it does not need to be forceful or aggressive to be completely wrong. This advance might not have meant to cause harm, but it could change the way that you feel at work, and will likely make you feel extremely uncomfortable.
If a situation such as this affects you enough to make you feel like the workplace has become a hostile environment, — for example, if you feel that you can no longer talk to this coworker about work-related issues, or you feel uncomfortable in the workplace when he or she is around — this is enough to constitute workplace harassment.
Why is it a good idea to take action about workplace harassment?
Deciding whether to file a complaint or claim about workplace harassment in New York is completely your choice. However, doing so can make sense for a number of reasons. First off, filing a complaint will protect you from any workplace retaliation to which victims of workplace harassment can often be victim. This means that once you have filed a complaint with a manager, you will be protected from any adverse treatment such as firing or demotion for a certain period of time.
What is the law on retaliation?
In New York, all workers are protected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This means that they have a right to be protected by all employment discrimination, harassment and any resulting retaliation. Retaliation could come in many forms, including but not limited to, increased scrutiny at work, verbal abuse, rumor spreading, bullying, demotion, denial of overtime, denial of benefits or firing.
If you have been a victim of harassment in the workplace, it is important to stand up for your rights in order to protect yourself and your future career.