Sexual Harassment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Being sexually harassed can leave you overwhelmed, emotional and vulnerable. You may be left with a number of questions about how to proceed, or if you even have a sexual harassment claim at all. At Godosky & Gentile, our attorneys are committed to standing up for victims of sexual harassment across New York City and the surrounding areas. Below are answers to some of our most commonly asked sexual harassment questions. For more answers, call our Bronx office at 212-742-9700, or schedule a free initial consultation online.
What counts as sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is either quid pro quo or behavior that causes a hostile work environment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a co-worker or superior asks you to perform sexual behaviors as part of your job or for an employment benefit. Any other behavior that offends you or makes you feel uncomfortable, intimidated or unsafe falls under the hostile work environment category.
A co-worker or manager told me an inappropriate joke. Is that sexual harassment?
Maybe. One off joke may not be enough evidence to show that you are working in a hostile work environment. But repeated jokes, especially when grouped with inappropriate comments, gestures or requests, can be enough evidence to show that you are indeed working in a hostile work environment.
What forms of evidence are available to support my claim?
Sometimes you may think it’s just your word against your manager’s. But there are a variety of forms of evidence you may be able to gather to support your case — emails, voicemails, screenshots, witness testimonies, even statements from other employees that they have been treated similarly in the past. There may be some circumstantial evidence to support your claim as well, like if you were fired a day after refusing to fulfill a sexual favor. Our lawyers could provide further advice as to what forms of evidence may be available for your situation.
Is my employer liable if my co-worker harasses me?
If they do nothing about it, and knowingly allow the behavior to continue, they are able to be held liable for sexual harassment. However, you often need to take the appropriate steps to report the incident, and show that your employer still did not take action on the matter. This can help prove that they are actively enabling a hostile work environment.
What if my employer fires me for reporting an incident of sexual harassment?
Employers are not allowed to retaliate for filing a sexual harassment complaint. While they can claim they are firing you for any other reason, our attorneys are adept at identifying the true reason for the termination, and taking further action to not only seek justice for the harassment, but also to hold your employer accountable for their unlawful retaliation and termination.