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New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyers

We Represent NYC Workers Affected by Sex- and Gender-Based Discrimination

There has been a renewed focus in recent years on identifying and stopping sexual harassment in the workplace. In 2019, the New York legislature adopted a series of changes to the state’s civil rights laws that strengthened existing protections for workers seeking to address sexual harassment. New York City has long had some of the strongest anti-sexual harassment laws and policies in the country.

Yet sexual harassment remains a far too common problem for many New York City workers. At Carey & Associates, P.C., our team is here to help. We are New York City sexual harassment lawyers who represent individuals facing hostile work conditions on account of their sex or gender. We understand that any amount of harassment is unacceptable. You have the right to a safe workplace and respect for your integrity as an individual. And if your employer refuses to understand that, we are prepared to help you take legal action.

Quid Pro Quo vs. Hostile Work Environment Harassment

Federal civil rights law has long banned employment discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex. In simple terms, an employer cannot treat you less favorably when making employment decisions because of your sex. New York law further extends these protections to a person’s gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

Sexual harassment is itself just another form of sex- or gender-based discrimination. We commonly use the phrase sexual harassment to describe two broad categories of illegal conduct. The first is quid pro quo harassment. This is when an employer demands sexual favors–or makes unwanted sexual advances–with the promise of more favorable treatment in employment. A classic example of quid pro quo harassment is an employer offering to hire or promote someone in exchange for sexual favors.

The second type of sexual harassment involves creating or maintaining a hostile work environment. This applies to a situation where a worker is subject to “pervasive or offensive” conduct in the workplace based on their sex or gender. The conduct in question does not necessarily have to come from the worker’s immediate supervisor. Co-workers and even third parties such as customers may create a hostile work environment. But the employer can still be held legally responsible for failing to put a stop to such harassment.

Some common examples of hostile work environment sexual harassment include:

  • making repeated comments about the attractiveness of an employee’s physical appearance in front of other employees;
  • asking an employee to discuss their sex life during work hours;
  • distributing pornographic or sexual images at work;
  • making sexual jokes or sending sexually suggestive messages via employee communications networks;
  • spreading rumors about an employee’s sex life; and
  • engaging in repeated unwanted touching or physical contact with an employee.

How Recent Changes to New York Law Help Victims of Sexual Harassment

Recent changes to the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) have significantly strengthened statewide legal protections against workplace sexual harassment. These protections often exceed those offered by federal law. Here are just a few examples:

  • The NYSHRL applies to all employers in New York State. Federal law only applies to employers with at least 15 employees.
  • The NYSHRL covers non-employees in a workplace, such as independent contractors.
  • The NYSHRL has a 3-year deadline to file a sexual harassment complaint. Under federal law, a complaint must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days.
  • The NYSHRL no longer requires proof that sexual harassment was “severe or pervasive” to hold an employer liable.
  • The NYSHRL does not require an employee to file an internal complaint or internal grievance with their employer before taking legal action.
  • The NYSHRL forbids employers from using “confidentiality agreements” to stop a worker from speaking to an attorney or government officials about sexual harassment.

Under New York law, any victim of sexual harassment may seek damages for their losses. This can include back pay and benefits, compensation for your emotional distress and reputational harm, punitive damages to punish the employer, and your legal fees and court costs. And if you were fired for complaining about sexual harassment–itself an act of illegal retaliation–a court can order your reinstatement.

Contact Carey & Associates Today

Sexual harassment is often humiliating and degrading to those who are the targets. Many victims feel helpless to take action for fear of what it could do to their own reputations and careers. But it is important to remember that it is the employer–not you–who is in the wrong. And you should never be afraid to defend your rights under the law.

So if you need to speak with an experienced New York City sexual harassment lawyer, call Carey & Associates, P.C., at (914) 705-5427 today to schedule a free initial consultation. We represent workers throughout the five boroughs of New York City and beyond.

Client Testimonials

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Mark and his team at Carey & Associates are incredibly knowledgeable about Employment Law and have walked me through every step of the way. Their approach and guidance has been extremely effective in dealing with my case. They instill a sense of confidence by laying out the facts, caselaw, and risk assessment to help make well informed decisions. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for an Employment Attorney.

J.K.

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