For workers in New York State who have filed a complaint about sexual harassment, it is unfortunate that the abusive behaviors that the person faced might continue in a different form. Unlawful retaliation can also happen and it too can be the basis for a legal filing. If an employee has complained about sexual harassment, retaliation is illegal. This is part of the Human Rights Law and a worker complaining is considered protected activity.
At workplaces in Westchester, White Plains and throughout New York, employees are protected from sexual harassment. Although there might be certain behaviors that are automatically known to fall into the category of sexual harassment, there are other behaviors that might not be as obvious and clear-cut. It can also be confusing as to who can bring a claim for sexual harassment even if there were no overtly negative consequences at the workplace. When there is a belief that it is taking place, it is essential to know exactly what falls into the category of being a violation and how to deal with it.
Employees, no matter how long they have been working in a workplace, are afforded certain rights. These rights protect a wide variety of employee rights, and if an employer does not uphold these rights, an employee can take certain steps. One circumstance this can occur is if an employee is experiencing sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is an issue that has been much in the news recently, with the high-profile firing of cable news host Bill O'Reilly after his long history of sexual harassment allegations came to light. Somewhat lost in the media coverage of this story is the fact that workers who are subjected to harassment and abuse can suffer long-term consequences.
The popular ride-hailing service Uber has swept through New York and across the nation as a safe way to get from here to there without having to use other modes of public transportation, such as taxi-cabs, buses and subways. The Silicon Valley company has enjoyed incredible growth, emphasizing "meritocracy" -- getting the best results at any cost. As of right now, Uber is worth nearly $70 billion. However, some workers at Uber claim the culture at the workplace is unrestrained and sometimes hostile.
Americans throughout the United States, including the New York tri-state area, have various protections in the workplace. Through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EOCC, has a very specific definition, which includes: unwanted sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; sexual physical or verbal conduct, which implicitly or explicitly, interferes with an employee's work, affects a worker's employment, or creates a work environment that is considered hostile, offensive or intimidating.
One common element in many sexual harassment cases involves a significant difference in powers of position between the assaulter and the victim. The aggressor often believes that he or she has an advantage over a victim, and may use this power in an attempt to force the victim into unwanted and unwelcome sexual situations.
Although federal, state and local laws are in place to assure that every employee in every working environment is entitled to a workplace free of sexual harassment in its many forms, the sad reality is that sexual harassment occurs fairly frequently, and oftentimes it is not reported or properly addressed, which can affect other employees or future employees down the road.
It is not uncommon to hear about "hazing" incidents among athletes. Typically, underclassmen in high schools or colleges, and rookies on semi-professional levels, are subjected to various gags of torment and hazing by upperclassmen and veterans. It has gone on for decades. In fact, according to a report by ESPN, as many as 68 reports of hazing took place between 1980 and 2002 by high school, college, and professional sports teams, many of which involved sexual acts. According to a more recent study by the Vanderbilt Medical Center, as many as 47 percent of student athletes have been subjected to hazing in their careers.
Last July, former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Fox News alleging systematic sexual misconduct in the workplace. She also alleged that former Fox Chief Executive Officer Roger Ailes played a role in her firing for not addressing his sexual advances.