New York, NY- Many New York workers whether they are male or female, face sexual harassment. This type or workplace discrimination is common and affects thousands or employees and employers which is why USAttorneys’ team of sexual harassment lawyers in New York would like to discuss some facts about sexual harassment in the workplace.

Sexual harassment is forbidden by federal law

This is obvious to most but there are some people who don’t realize federal law forbids sexual harassment and other forms of workplace harassment. They may be aware that their employer has a policy against harassment but may not be aware that could also lead to a costly lawsuit. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gives all employees protection against discrimination based on their sex, gender, race, religion and disability. Sexual harassment is considered a form gender discrimination.

Federal laws and Employer rules differ

While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does protect workers from sex-based harassment or discrimination, it does not specifically address sexual harassment nor does it define what behaviors can count as sexual harassment, so an employee could be in violation of company policies but not in violation of federal law.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as: “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.”

Your employer may have more stringent rules and forbid any jokes, pictures or talk that is sexual in nature so they can avoid the gray areas. The key to avoid being accused of sexual harassment is for employees to become familiar with their company’s sexual harassment policies.

Retaliation is common

Oftentimes employees who are being sexually harassed don’t report the behavior because they fear retaliation. Retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee for reporting troubling incidents of harassment or discrimination. Retaliation can include denying an employee a requested day off, denying them a deserved promotion or raise or in can be serious and result in an employee’s termination.

No employee is required to file a formal sexual harassment complaint

Employees who are subjected to sexual harassment are not legally compelled to report the harasser. In fact many choose not to because they don’t want to be retaliated against. Employees who are reluctant to file a formal complaint can address the harasser directly. They can confront the offending employee and explain that their behavior is inappropriate, unwanted and put them on notice to stop. In many cases, this confrontation will put a swift end to the harassment a person is experiencing.

If you do plan on filing a formal complaint and believe you are entitled to compensation, USAttorneys recommends you retain a sexual harassment attorney in New York to assist them with their case and help them get the compensation they deserve.