Imagine having to go to work every day fearing that you will be the target of harassment. You worry about being touched inappropriately by co-workers who have threatened to physically harm you if you report the behavior. Even though your employer has not done anything to help you, you can't quit because you need the money to support your family.
In employment law, this would be considered a hostile work environment. No one deserves to work in a situation like this. If the behavior doesn't stop after a victim reports it and asks the co-worker to stop, he or she can take action by filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, which is exactly what one New York woman did recently.
The 50-year-old woman worked in the kitchen at the Grand Hyatt New York. When co-workers began harassing her by doing things like unhooking her bra and putting their hands down her pants, she went to her supervisor -- who did nothing. From there, things only got worse. The alleged harassers threatened her with physical violence if she reported their behavior again. She never quit because she has a teenage son to support.
The woman has filed a lawsuit against the Hyatt and her union, the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council. She said her union refused to help her get out of the hostile environment.
No one deserves to feel unsafe at work. Fortunately, New York employment laws allow employees to take action against employers who exhibit negligence in the way they handle problems like this.
Source: New York Daily News, "Kitchen worker sues Grand Hyatt New York over alleged sexual harassment," Barbara Ross and bill Hutchinson, July 29, 2013