Most people have an idea of what sexual harassment is and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, sexual harassment cases have evolved over the years due to state and federal laws and a number of Supreme Court decisions that have altered the traditional meaning of sexual harassment. This has left many people including employers to misunderstand several aspects of the law.
Misconceptions about sexual harassment
According to New York sexual harassment attorneys, one of the common misconceptions is that sexual harassment only covers protection against sexual advances or other conduct of a sexual nature that are unwanted. However, that is far from the truth. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidelines states that it is against the law to harass or treat employees unfavorably because of their gender, race, or ethnic origin.
For example, passing derogatory comments and sexual innuendos against female employees is also considered sexual harassment. Displaying pornographic pictures to a victim, and physical violence even not of a sexual nature, is considered sexual harassment. Any New York, NY sexual harassment lawyer knows this and so should you. If you want any more outstanding information on the workplace and your rights, head over to this link: http://employment-law.usattorneys.com/york/.
Another misconception is that an employee who accedes to sexual requests will not be able to file a sexual harassment case since there is consent. While this may be perceived as consent very often the employee may agree to sexual relations due to fear of retaliation, which has been held by the US Supreme Court. The court has observed in many cases that threats, intimidation, and retaliation cannot mean someone has given consent. This means they were under duress and pressure. This is not allowed in America.
According to New York sexual harassment lawyers, it is essential for employers to take concrete steps to prevent harassment in the workplace and take prompt action if such behavior has occurred. The main objective must be to prevent harassing behavior that can create a hostile work environment and also lead to costly litigation. Immediate intervention by the employer sends out a clear message to their workforce that sexual harassment is not tolerated.
And it should not be!
Prompt reporting system
Employers ought to make sure that their sexual harassment policy mandates that supervisors must report sexual harassment complaints immediately to the human resources department or other individual of authority. Investigations into the alleged misconduct must also be conducted as soon as possible. If there are possible delays those involved must be made aware of them.
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New York sexual harassment lawyers also stress the importance of adhering to EEOC guidelines in conducting an inquiry. It is prudent for every employer to familiarize themselves with the guidelines prior to initiating an investigation.
Documentation and evidence
The investigation must be documented in order to be prepared for litigation where an investigator may be cross-examined in front of a jury. In addition, all potential witnesses and co-workers must be interviewed after they have been identified by the complainant.
In many cases, co-workers can provide valuable insights into the case during an interview. Following a complaint, it is important to take temporary remedial measures so that the harasser and the alleged victim do not interact much until the investigation is complete. However, care must be taken to ensure that any measures are not seen as retaliation. Your New York sexual harassment lawyer should be very easy to reach.