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How can you know if what you are experiencing is harassment?

New York workers have the right to work in an environment that is free from harassment, mistreatment and discrimination of any kind. There are both state and federal laws in place that protect individuals against these things, yet it still happens in many different types of workplaces. As an employee, you may need to know about the behaviors that qualify as harassment or discrimination.

When people experience harassment at work, they are often unsure if it is actually harassment or simply annoying or rude behavior. Harassment is more than just an annoyance – it is a type of discrimination, and you have the right to speak up if you are a victim. There is no place for harassment in any form, and you do not have to endure it on your own.

Harassing conduct in the workplace

How can you know if what you are experiencing is harassment? Workplace harassment includes any type of unwanted physical or verbal contact that is sexual, discriminatory, mocking, disparaging or bullying in nature. In some cases, harassment can happen through emails or in other ways that can interfere with the victim's ability to do his or her job. You could be a victim of illegal workplace harassment when the following two things apply to your situation: 

  • The treatment you are experiencing is severe and significant enough to lead to the development of a hostile work environment.
  • The offensive verbal remarks or physical contact are such that you believe putting up with it is necessary to continue with your job. 

Employers are responsible for ensuring that workplaces are safe for everyone who works there, regardless of age, gender, nationality or any other factor. If you experience harassment in your place of work, you have grounds to report it to someone in authority and begin to explore the legal options that may be available to you. Some victims of harassment may have grounds to pursue compensation from an employer or other liable party. 

You do not have to suffer alone

As a victim of workplace harassment, you do not have to suffer alone. You have the right to speak up and take necessary steps to bring your situation to light. If you think you may have a case, it can be helpful to start with a complete assessment of your situation. This step can help you see what options you have and how you can protect your employee rights.

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