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Sexual Harassment Outside the Office

Employment Lawyers Representing Workers in New York

Interactions between coworkers are not always limited to the workplace. Instead, many people perform their job duties and socialize with other employees at off-site locations. Merely because people are not in an office location does not mean that rules regarding proper workplace behavior no longer apply. Individuals who make comments or gestures that are inappropriately sexual in nature may be committing sexual harassment. Employees subjected to sexual harassment by people with whom they work can often pursue claims, regardless of where the harassment occurred. Victims of sexual harassment outside the office should seek legal counsel regarding their rights. The New York sexual harassment attorneys at Gerstman Schwartz are adept at proving liability for harassment and other acts of discrimination. We can help you pursue the full amount of damages recoverable under the law.

Acts That May Be Considered Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment often takes the form of comments or communications that are sexually explicit. For example, a person might make lewd jokes, tell explicit stories, or share emails or texts that contain pornographic images. Uninvited physical contact, like groping, kissing, rubbing against someone, or attempting to touch someone, is usually considered sexual harassment as well. While many acts of sexual harassment are motivated by desire, they do not need to be. Instead, any behavior that arises out of a person’s sex may be considered harassment, and people can harass employees of the same or opposite gender, regardless of whether their behavior is driven by sexual attraction.

Proving Liability for Sexual Harassment Outside the Office

Under New York and federal laws, employers can be held liable for the sexual harassment of employees. Specifically, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), and the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) all prohibit sex-based discrimination, which includes sexual harassment. None of the laws contains provisions dictating that sexual harassment must occur in an office or normal place of work to be actionable. Thus, victims of sexual harassment may be able to recover damages from their employers regardless of where the harassment occurred.

Sexual harassment typically falls into one of two categories: quid pro quo or hostile work environment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment happens when an employer or supervisor requests sexual favors from a person while making it clear that the terms of the individual’s employment depend on his or her willingness to submit. For example, if a supervisor tells an employee that a promotion is contingent on the employee dating the supervisor, this is likely quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Hostile work environment claims arise when a person’s work environment changes due to ongoing sexual harassment. The evidence needed to prove a hostile work environment sexual harassment claim will depend on the statute that the employee alleges was violated. Title VII requires proof of harassing behavior that is so severe and pervasive that it creates a hostile environment and alters the terms of a person’s employment. The NYSHRL requires less stringent evidence, since an employee only needs to prove that harassment resulted in inferior terms, privileges, or conditions of employment. Finally, under the NYCHRL, the evidence merely needs to establish that the employee was treated worse than other employees because of the harassment.

Speak to an Experienced New York Attorney

Regardless of where workplace sexual harassment occurs, it is a violation of employee rights and often constitutes grounds for employment lawsuits. If you experienced sexual harassment outside the office, you should speak to an attorney about which damages you may be able to recover. At Gerstman Schwartz, our New York attorneys will zealously pursue any compensation that you may be owed. We regularly represent employees in sexual harassment cases in New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties. You can contact us to set up a meeting via our online form or by calling (212) 227-7070 for our New York City office or calling (516) 880-8170 for our Garden City office.

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