If you have experienced sexual harassment at work in New York and your employer is aware but has not stopped it, ignored your harassment complaint, or retaliated against you in any way for complaining, or for supporting someone else’s complaint of sexual harassment, you can file a legal complaint with a government agency.
In New York, such agencies include:
- For Federal Complaints – United States EEOC: Visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s website for more information about filing a “charge” of discrimination with the EEOC.
- For State Complaints – New York State: Visit the New York State Division of Human Rights website for more information on filing a complaint with the NYSDHR if you work anywhere in NY.
- For New York City: Visit the New York City Commission on Human Rights website for information about filing a complaint with the NYCCHR if you work in New York City.
There are Strict Deadlines with Filing Complaints with These Agencies
Please also note:
- If the government agency decides to investigate your complaint, they will likely interview you, and the alleged harasser, and the investigator may tell them about your claims. They could also interview your supervisor(s), coworkers, people in HR, and others who may have witnessed the harassment or know about your complaint.
- Government agencies often take months to assign each case to an investigator, so the whole process could take many months or even years to complete. If you don’t want to wait for the agency to do or conduct and complete its investigation (and the result is often disappointing), you may be able to request a “Notice of Right to Sue” (NORTS) so that you can file directly in federal court. The rules on receiving your NORTS are different depending on whether you filed with the EEOC or a comparable state or city agency.
- If the sexual harassment or discrimination occurred in NY, you can always file a lawsuit in state court under the state and/or city Human Rights Laws without first filing with any administrative agency, but filing first with a state or city administrative agency may limit your ability to pursue your claims in state court later on, so this why it is so important to get legal advice from a qualified and experienced employment lawyer before committing to a particular legal strategy and plan of action.
You may be able to resolve your claims with your employer before you take any legal action, which is generally the best way for employees and former employees to resolve sexual harassment and employment law claims, through alternative dispute resolution, such as pre-litigation attorney negotiations, or private or discrimination agency mediation.
New York Filing Procedures
How To File a Complaint Regarding NYC Sexual Harassment with The New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR)
A private sector employee, employed by a company of any size in New York, may file a complaint with the State Division of Human Rights (SDHR). A complaint must be filed within 1 year from the last discriminatory act, usually the employee’s firing.
The SDHR has offices throughout the state, in the cities of Albany, Binghamton, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Manhattan, Long Island, Syracuse, Rochester, and Peekskill.
Contact the New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR)
New York State Division of Human Rights
One Fordham Plaza
Bronx New York 10458
Telephone: (718) 741-8400
How To Report Workplace Sexual Harassment to the New York City Commission On Human Rights (NYCCHR)
A private sector employee, employed by a company with four or more employees in New York City may file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights. A complaint must be filed within 1 year from the last discriminatory act, usually defined as the employee’s firing date.
The NYCCHR is charged with enforcing the New York City Human Rights Law, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace.
Contact the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR)
Law Enforcement Bureau of the NYC Commission on Human Rights
22 Reade St
New York, NY 10007
Telephone: 311 or (212) 306-7450