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Sexual Harassment by Coworkers

Skilled Attorneys Assisting New York Employees

Enduring sexually inappropriate behavior on the job can have severe financial and emotional impacts. People subjected to sexual harassment by coworkers have the right to take legal action to protect their interests. If you were sexually harassed by a coworker, you could be owed compensation from your employer, and you should meet with a lawyer to assess your options. The skillful New York sexual harassment lawyers at Gerstman Schwartz take pride in helping victims of sexual harassment strive to hold their employers accountable. If you hire us, we will fight aggressively to help you seek a successful outcome.

Sexual Harassment by Coworkers

Sexual harassment can take the form of physical contact, comments, and threats that are sexual in nature. Sharing or displaying sexually graphic images or videos, making unwanted sexual advances and innuendos, and sending explicit texts or emails may constitute sexual harassment as well. Sexual harassment also includes remarks and behavior that is not an expression of sexual desire but is derogatory toward a person based on the person’s sex, such as stating that women are better suited to certain jobs.

Pursuing Claims for Sexual Harassment by Coworkers

Typically, sexual harassment by a coworker is hostile work environment harassment. Victims of sexual harassment by a coworker may be able to pursue hostile work environment claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), depending on the facts of their case. All three laws prohibit sexual harassment and other forms of gender discrimination.

The evidence needed to prove hostile work environment sexual harassment by coworkers varies under each law. Under Title VII, an employee must show harassment that was so pervasive or severe that it created an abusive working environment and changed the conditions of employment. The coworker’s behavior must be both objectively and subjectively offensive, which means that a reasonable person would find it to be offensive and that the specific employee was offended by the coworker’s conduct.

The burden of proof is reduced under the NYSHRL, which only requires proof of inferior terms of employment, conditions, or privileges due to the harassment, and under the NYCHRL, which dictates that an employee must show that the coworker’s harassment caused the employee to be treated less favorably than other workers. The unfavorable treatment must be greater than a mere inconvenience.

Under each statutory scheme, the employee must also demonstrate that there is an adequate basis for implicating the employer for the coworker’s conduct. Under New York law, employers have a duty to eliminate hostile work environments. Therefore, an employer may be held vicariously liable for sexual harassment of an employee by a coworker if the employer was aware or should have been aware of the harassment but failed to correct the coworker’s behavior. An employer may also be deemed liable for a coworker’s harassment if the employer did not provide any avenues for employees to make complaints regarding harassment.

Discuss a Sexual Harassment Claim With a Capable New York Attorney

Employers have a duty to provide employees with a respectful and secure environment, which includes preventing an employee from sexually harassing another employee and swiftly responding if they do. If you were subjected to sexual harassment by a coworker, it is wise to speak to a lawyer about your potential claims. At Gerstman Schwartz, our New York attorneys are proficient at navigating the complexities of employment lawsuits. If we represent you, we will gather the facts and evidence needed to provide you with a good chance of a favorable result. We regularly help employees pursue sexual harassment claims in New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties. You can reach us at our New York City office at (212) 227-7070, at our Garden City office at (516) 880-8170, or by accessing our form online to schedule a consultation.

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