Sexual Harassment Lawyers In New York City

Know Your Rights: It doesn’t need to be physical;
if it is severe or pervasive, it is illegal

What Constitutes Illegal Sexual Harassment?

NY Sexual Harassment Lawyers Bill Sipser and Jack Tuckner

Are you being sexually harassed at work? Let’s define it. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination in the workplace, though it’s sometimes referred to as gender discrimination in some city or state anti-discrimination laws. Sexual harassment is unwanted behavior in the workplace that happens to you because of your sex, in other words, because of who you are as woman, or much less frequently, because of who you are as a man.

In other words, if you weren’t a woman, your boss would not have subjected you to unwelcome sexual advances. Ask yourself, would this be happening to me if I were not female? If the answer is no, and the sexual attention is making you uncomfortable, then it’s not your fault—that’s sexual harassment.

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Experiencing Sexual Harassment at Work?

If you or someone you know is facing sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s essential to understand your rights and options. Our comprehensive guide addresses many of the frequently asked questions about NYC sexual harassment laws and offers actionable steps to protect yourself and seek justice. Don’t suffer in silence; knowledge is power. Check out our Sexual Harassment Guide today.



Sexual Harassment Defined by the EEOC

According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Sexual harassment includes:

And it happens when:

In plain English, if you feel that this uncomfortable workplace situation or severe hostility would not have happened to you if you were a man, then you’re experiencing sex discrimination, and it’s illegal.

Do Sexual Harassment Comments or Behaviors Need to Be Specifically Directed Toward Me? 

No.  Sexual harassment comments or behavior still count as harassment even if the statements are not aimed at you specifically.

So, if you are a woman, or a trans person who hears a group of colleagues making offensive statements about women or trans people in general, that kind of sexist behavior could still be considered actionable “harassment,” even though the coworkers are not speaking to or about you specifically. It is still illegal discriminatory harassment, and you should feel free to contact a sex harassment attorney if you have questions about such conduct.

When Does Wrongful Conduct Become Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment conduct is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment, and/or when it results in an adverse employment action, such as failure to hire or promote, or when an employee is terminated thereafter.

Many types of sexual harassment do not need to be repeated or going.  For instance, if an employee is groped, a single instance will be considered sexual harassment.

If you are unsure if you have been subjected to illegal workplace sexual harassment, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation with an experienced NYC sexual harassment lawyer. We can listen to the facts of your case, determine whether you may have a valid claim, and explain your legal options for seeking justice and maximum compensation.

What Should I do if I’m Being Sexually Harassed at Work?

Depending upon the circumstances, you should notify the person committing the harassment that their conduct is unwelcome.  If this does not stop the wrongful conduct, then you should report the conduct to HR or to other senior management if there is no HR department.

For a detailed list of step-by-step suggestions, please see our page on What Should I Do if I’m Being Sexually Harassed at Work? 

Can I Bring a Sexual Harassment Claim if I’m Being Sexually Harassed by a Customer or Client?

Yes. Your company has a duty to ensure that you are free from workplace sexual harassment, including sexual harassment from clients and customers.

What Should I do if I’m Being Sexually Harassed by a Customer or Client?

You should take the same actions as you would if you are being harassed by another employee; namely notifying HR as a starting point. 

Does Wrongful Conduct Need to Come from a Manager to be Sexual Harassment? 

No. The harasser can be a supervisor, a co-worker or someone who is not an employee, such as a client or customer.

Who Decides What is Sexual Harassment?

For wrongful behavior to be considered sexual harassment, it only matters what you, the person who is suffering the harassment, thinks about it.

It does not matter if the harasser thinks it’s not harassment, or it’s harmless, not sexual, or welcomed by you (e.g., the harasser thinks that you “like” it). It’s still harassment if the behavior is unwelcome or you find the conduct offensive.

Is it Sexual Harassment if I Don’t Say Anything When It Happens?

Yes, it is still sexual harassment even if you don’t immediately say something to let the person know that what they are saying or doing is inappropriate and makes you feel uncomfortable.

For example, you might accept a sudden hug because you’re caught off-guard, or because you’re worried that the person, who may be your boss, will react badly if you don’t go along to get along with their creepy and overly familiar touchy behavior. If the harasser is your supervisor, or anyone else in the workplace who has more power than you, you may be afraid to speak up as you’re fearful about losing your job. But that type of understandable and normal response does not make the sexual harassment less serious or make you responsible for any of it. You can still lodge a complaint with your company, even if it’s not immediately after it occurs.

Can I Be Fired if I Report Sexual Harassment? 

No.  If you’re fired as a result of reporting sexual harassment, then you will have a separate claim for wrongful termination (in addition to any sexual harassment claim that you might have).

We understand that taking a stand against sexual harassment is not without its challenges. Victims often face the fear of retaliation after reporting misconduct. However, it is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who have reported sexual harassment or participated in a workplace investigation about sexual harassment.

If you are terminated for reporting sexual harassment, you should immediately speak to a sexual harassment lawyer before filing a claim with the EEOC. As an experienced New York sexual harassment law firm, we are dedicated to safeguarding victims from unlawful retaliation. We will fervently work to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process and that you are not further victimized for seeking justice.

Can I Be Demoted for Reporting Sexual Harassment?  How About Having My Job Description Changed?

Any type of retaliatory action taken against a person for reporting sexual harassment is illegal. If you are discriminated against in any way – including demotion, failure to be promoted, job circumstances changed – you will also have a retaliation claim, in addition to a sexual harassment claim.

The Sexual Harassment Laws – Understanding The Law and Your Rights

Sexual harassment is prohibited by:

Federal law, as well as the New York State and City Human Rights Laws also protects against harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or transgender status. All forms of sex-based discriminatory treatment are now prohibited by law.

For more information about federal, state, and New York City laws prohibiting sexual harassment, please see the following links:

Sexual Harassment is a Violation of Individual Workplace Rights

Sexual harassment, regardless of its form, is a violation of an individual’s rights and a degradation of their professional environment. As experienced NYC sexual harassment attorneys with decades of legal experience, we have developed a keen understanding of these subtle nuances and manifestations. We are unwavering in our commitment to hold workplace sexual abusers accountable and pursue justice and the maximum compensation that victims rightfully deserve.

Contact a Sexual Harassment Attorney for a Free Consult and Case Evaluation

Call us, text us, or complete the form on this page.  Once we understand what has happened to you, we can explain the options that you may have.

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