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New York Sexual Harassment Law

— March 4, 2022

Another kind of sexual harassment is when someone engages in offensive behavior that makes an employee so uncomfortable that it limits their ability to perform their job.

There is nothing more disheartening than throwing your efforts and your time into your career, only to repeatedly be passed over for a promotion or raise. If you have a sneaking suspicion that you are being discriminated against in the workplace – or worse yet, you are being sexually harassed, then you do have resources available to make the sexual harassment stop. It is illegal in the state of New York, both at the state and federal levels, for anyone to discriminate against another in the workplace.

According to the New York Human Rights Law, it is strictly prohibited for any employer with more than four workers to discriminate against someone based on their gender, gender identity, or their transgender status. It is also illegal on the federal level for any employer to sexually harass or to discriminate against an employee due to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law states that someone’s gender identity, appearance, self-image, behavior, or expression of their sexual identity must not make them a target for discrimination in any work environment.

What is considered sexual harassment in New York?

Sexual harassment can be based on one single act, but in most instances, it is a pervasive and systematic way that a supervisor or employer intimidates or threatens an employee – so much so that it hinders their work performance. In cases where it might be one single act, the harassment is referred to as “quid pro quo” sexual harassment. This is when an authority figure or someone who holds power over your work status makes a request for a sexual act and either implicitly or explicitly makes it known that your status at work is dependent on your compliance with their request.

It might also be that the employer makes a sexual request and makes it known that if you do something for them, they will do something to further your career or provide a perk to your employment status.

Angry manager; image by Akshay Gupta, via
Angry manager; image by Akshay Gupta, via

Another kind of sexual harassment is when someone engages in offensive behavior that makes an employee so uncomfortable that it limits their ability to perform their job. If another employee or a boss engages in sexually harassing behaviors that are repetitious enough that they create a threatening or hostile work atmosphere, that is also considered sexual harassment and is also illegal.

Sexually harassing behaviors are things like making sexual innuendos, inappropriate touching, making derogatory remarks based on someone’s sex, making unwelcome sexual advances, telling sexually-charged jokes or displaying explicitly sexual images.

How to Get the Sexual Harassment to Stop

Victims of sexual harassment often hide the abuse for fear of retaliation or because they don’t want it to become worse. But since it is illegal in New York, you do not have to put up with it. The first critical step is to let both the harasser and your employer know that you are being sexually harassed and that the behavior has to stop. The next thing that you should do is to hire a New York sexual harassment lawyer to guide you in case your claim needs to be escalated.

It is also a good idea to file a sexual harassment claim at the federal level with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If your employer is made aware of the misconduct and they fail to act, then you might be able to hold them liable for damages stemming from your abuse.

What types of damages are you entitled to if you are sexually harassed?

If you can prove that you both made your boss aware of the misconduct and that they failed to do anything to stop it, as well as show that you suffered damages due to it, then you might be liable to compensation for your damages. In egregious cases of harassment you might also be entitled to punitive damages.

The only way to know for sure if you have a case, and to get the harassment to stop if your employer refuses to take steps, is to contact They can help you find an experienced New York sexual harassment attorney to go through your case with you. Contact them today so that you take the right steps to protect yourself, your career, and to get compensation for anything that you have lost due to the harassment.

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