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How do you deal with sexual harassment at work in New York?


Your questions about sexual harassment in the workplace, answered

How do you deal with sexual harassment at work?

Sexual harassment can happen in any workplace, with one national study reporting that 38% of women and 13% of men experience sexual harassment in the workplace. When harassment occurs, the victims may wonder how to deal with sexual harassment at work. In most cases, the first step should be to document the harassment and say something about it to a supervisor or HR. A sexual harassment lawyer can also help pursue legal remedies.

In addition, victims of sexual harassment may benefit from support from friends, family, or a therapist. Sexual harassment can be emotionally traumatizing.  

How to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace

Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal. In New York, state and local laws provide legal protections against sexual harassment, including if the harasser is a superior and, in some circumstances, if the harasser is a coworker or subordinate. When sexual harassment occurs, victims and witnesses should keep records about the situation, including the names of everyone involved, the harassment, and any reports to supervisors or HR about the incident.

How to deal with sexual harassment at work as a manager

Employees in junior positions aren’t the only ones who can be victims of sexual harassment. Managers may also be the targets of sexual harassment at work. Managers can be sexually harassed by their supervisors, by other managers, or by the employees they supervise. While only a supervisor or boss can be guilty of quid pro quo sexual harassment, such as requesting sexual favors for a promotion or raise, any employee can be guilty of unwanted contact or creating a hostile work environment for which the employer may be held liable.

As with other cases of sexual harassment at work, managers can report the sexual harassment internally and contact a sexual harassment lawyer to protect their rights.

How sexual harassment is handled in workplace settings

Companies have different policies about how to handle sexual harassment. Some take reports or conduct internal investigations, while others have less formal procedures. Regardless of internal corporate policy, victims of sexual harassment have protections under federal, state, and local laws. In New York, the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law protect workers from sexual harassment in the workplace.

When sexual harassment occurs, employees should consider reporting it. Regardless of how sexual harassment starts or how sexual harassment happens, employees have legal protections.

How do you report sexual harassment at work?

If you witness or experience sexual harassment at work, you can report it internally. Many companies have policies to report sexual harassment, which may involve reporting it to a supervisor or HR. Whether you make an informal or formal complaint, it’s a good idea to report sexual harassment in writing and keep a copy of the complaint.

As for how sexual harassment can be addressed in the workplace, companies set their own policies to stop sexual harassment. They have a responsibility to determine how sexual harassment can be prevented. However, if the harassment continues, or if a supervisor or boss is the harasser, victims of sexual harassment can contact a sexual harassment lawyer to protect their rights.

How do you prove sexual harassment at work?

Create a sexual harassment log to keep detailed records of the sexual harassment in writing. Record the name(s) of the harassers, the location, the targets, other witnesses, and the date, as well as any other details that could substantiate the harassment. It’s also a good idea to keep records that show you reported the harassment to a supervisor or HR, and to make notes about the company’s response to sexual harassment. In cases where the harasser was not a supervisor or boss, the company may only be liable if it failed to address the harassment or showed negligence after receiving reports of the harassment.

When you contact a sexual harassment lawyer, make sure to mention the evidence you have collected to prove sexual harassment occurred.

How sexual harassment affects the victim

Victims of sexual harassment may struggle with depression, anxiety, or fear. It may be difficult to return to work or to face the harasser. Studies show how sexual harassment can affect mental health. Keep in mind that there is no one reaction to sexual harassment in the workplace, but regardless of how sexual harassment makes you feel, victims of sexual harassment have legal protections. You may be entitled to a financial settlement because of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Companies also have a responsibility to consider how sexual harassment affects employees and to stop workplace sexual harassment.

What to do about sexual harassment

Many targets of sexual harassment struggle to figure out how to deal with sexual harassment at work. Any employee who has been the victim of sexual harassment or a hostile work environment can contact a sexual harassment lawyer for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensatory damages, punitive damages, or other financial settlements.

You can also read more about your sexual harassment rights.

Sexual Harassment Rights, Laws, and Potential Damages

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