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Long Island Sexual Harassment Lawyers

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At Lawscape we help employers and employees with sexual harassment claims. However, we know it is best when employers are able to prevent these claims from happening all together. As a form of gender discrimination, sexual harassment has serious consequences and is banned under federal, state, and local laws. Employers need to know what is required of them in order to make solid efforts to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Lawscape is here to help guide businesses through this process.

How Can My Business Protect Itself from Sexual Harassment Claims?

In order to protect your business from sexual harassment claims, it is best to understand what is expected of you as an employer in the first place and to know the relevant law. Employers have a fundamental responsibility to work towards preventing sexual harassment in the workplace and to respond to sexual harassment if and when it occurs. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has laid out some recommended practices in order to help businesses better handle sexual harassment issues. Some of these practices include:

  • Create and implement sexual harassment policies: The EEOC recommends businesses developing their own policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment claims and how they will be handled. It is encouraged that businesses be open about sexual harassment issues that can arise in the workplace, keeping employees informed of their rights, and creating a system where employees will feel comfortable raising their concerns. Reporting procedures should always be developed with the victim in mind.
  • Posting federal Anti-Discrimination Laws: This is actually required for a many businesses. Generally speaking, employers with 15 or more employees will be subject to the federal laws regarding sexual harassment. These employers are required to to post a notice which details federal anti-discrimination laws, including gender discrimination like sexual harassment.
  • Keep thorough employment records: Federal law mandates that employers keep employment records for at least one year and payroll records for three years. This is a good practice even for those employers who may not be subject to federal laws regarding sexual harassment. In the event that a sexual harassment claim is filed, employers should maintain any records relating to the incident in question until the claim has been handled to resolution.

Helping Fight Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.

Everyone benefits when affirmative steps are taken to promote a work environment free from sexual harassment. Know the law regarding sexual harassment and take the recommend steps to prevent it in the workplace and to make a safe space for any employee to report potential violations. Lawscape, we represent businesses and employees. We’ve seen both sides of sexual harassment claims and have seen plenty of ways things could have been handled better such as being proactive on the issues surrounding sexual harassment in the workplace.

As a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you may be hesitant to come forward. Yes, there are laws in place that protect you from employer retaliation, but you may still have real fears about what will happen if you speak up. This hesitation is completely understandable. However, it is important to keep in mind that the law only grants you a certain amount of time to bring a sexual harassment claim. The statute of limitations, or the time period you have to bring your claim, may bar you from bringing your claim if you wait too long.

Sexual harassment is a pervasive problem despite the legal ramification put in place. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, contact Lawscapeto protect your legal rights are protected. Lawscape is here to help you successfully navigate this delicate and complex area of law.

What is the Statute of Limitations for filing a Sexual Harassment Claim?

Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. Laws at the federal, state, and local level have been put in place to protect you from experiencing this type of discrimination in the work place. Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law all work to prohibit sexual harassment. Each law is enforced by a particular government agency. Depending on what type of sexual harassment claim you are filing and what government agency is charged with processing the claim, a different statute of limitation applies.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) processes sexual harassment claims pursuant to Title VII. Generally speaking, all federal employees in New York can file a “Charge of Discrimination” with the EEOC. Additionally, an employee who is employed by a private New York Company with 15 or more employees may also file with the EEOC. EEOC charges must be filed within 300 calendar days of the date the sexual harassment occurred. The 300 days includes weekends and holidays. If the final day falls on a holiday or weekend, it will be pushed to the closest business day. Additionally, in the event you may be waiting on your employer to process a sexual harassment claim internally before taking the next step, you need to be aware that the EEOC will not extend the 300-day deadline because you are waiting for an internal resolution. When in doubt, file your EEOC claim earlier or risk waiving your ability to bring the claim at all.

All relevant statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims refer to bringing the claim within a certain time period from the date the sexual harassment occurred. However, it is common for sexual harassment to be an ongoing issue. In this case, the deadline may be calculated based on the last instance of sexual harassment.

If you are an employee of a private company in New York, regardless of the number of employees the company has, you may be able to file your sexual harassment claim with the State Division of Human Rights (SDHR) as a violation of the New York State Human Rights Law. If you are an employee of a private company in New York City that has at least 4 employees, you may file your sexual harassment complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). Both the SDHR and the CCHR allow you to file your claim within a year from the date the sexual harassment occurred.

You may also be considering filing a claim in court. Be mindful that federal courts require you to first file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC before you bring a lawsuit in federal court. This means you must have timely filed you claim with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate your claim and issue you a “Notice of Right to Sue.” You will have 90 days after receiving this notice to file your claim in federal court.

If you are bringing your claim in state court, you are not required to first file a claim with the state or local administrative agency. You have 3 years from the date of the sexual harassment to file your claim in state court. This is a great option if the statute of limitations has run on the SDHR or CCHR claims.

Fighting for Victims of Sexual Harassment.

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, find out more about your legal rights. The sooner you contact the dedicated attorneys at Lawscape, the more options you may have. Contact Lawscape today.

Long Island Sexual Harassment Attorneys

Sexual harassment, as it is gender based, is categorized as a form of gender discrimination. Gender discrimination runs in direct contradiction to those rights protected by Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, New York State’s Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law both prohibit sexual harassment. Regardless of these laws, sexual harassment does still happen. It can happen inside or outside of the workplace. The perpetrator can be a supervisor, a co-worker, a client, or some other non-employee. The harassment may have begun as inappropriate remarks or unwelcome sexual advances. No matter what the situation, sexual harassment is illegal. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, the sexual harassment attorneys at Tand & Associates are here to make sure your legal rights are enforced.

What Kind of Evidence Can Be Used in A Sexual Harassment Case?

When you are bringing a sexual harassment claim, you, as the complainant, must be able to furnish evidence regarding the harassment. This evidence must comply evidentiary rules and state law. Some things may be prohibited from being entered in as evidence due to things such as the hearsay rule which places restrictions on some out of court statements being produced as evidence.

Evidence in a sexual harassment claim may come in several different forms, including:

  • Written communications: Written communications from your harasser can be used to substantiate your harassment claim. You may have received harassing emails, text messages or social media communications. The written communication need not be electronic. A handwritten message could also be evidence of harassment. You do, however, need to be able to authenticate the writings. This means that you must be able to prove that the communications were actually from the harasser.
  • Eyewitness testimony: If there was another person who witnesses the harassment, he or she can testify as to what they saw. This witness will be able to relay their account of events, but will be subject to cross-examination. During cross examination, their credibility or the accuracy of how they reported the harassing events may be called into question.
  • Recorded conversations: Audio recordings of conversations where sexual harassment occurred may be admissible evidence. Both federal and New York State law follows the one-party consent rule for the permissibility of recording conversations. Under the one-party consent rule, only one person on the recorded conversation needs to consent to the recording in order for it to be allowable.

You are legally entitled to work in an environment free from sexual harassment.

Under federal, state, and local law, you are entitled to be free from employment related sexual harassment. Being the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace can be extremely stressful as you may be in fear of some form of retaliation if you speak up. The law protects you from retaliation, but it can still be intimidating to consider voicing your concerns. At Tand & Associates, we are here to go over the legal protections in place for you and make you feel as comfortable as possible should you choose to proceed with bringing a sexual harassment claim.

Over the centuries of our country’s existence, there has been a general progression towards increased civil rights for all people. Though we still have a long way to go, in recent decades, civil rights, in addition to focusing on the need to eliminate religious, racial, and ethnic discrimination, has come to target sexual discrimination as well. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) is the primary law under which federal discrimination lawsuits are filed in the United States. Title VII not only prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion and national origin but sexual discrimination in the form of harassment. This protection is now being applied in cases defending the rights who are individuals who are male, female, gay, straight, and transgender.

What constitutes sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment covers a fairly broad range of behaviors, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demands for sexual favors, and verbal or physical behaviors that are sexual in nature. It should be noted that the person accused of sexual harassment in the workplace may be male or female (regardless of the gender of the employee being harassed), a person interviewing a job applicant, a supervisor, a top executive, or a co-worker. An employee can also be sexually harassed by a customer or client who is visiting the workplace.

Sexual harassment needn’t be directed at a particular person to be offensive but may involve general comments about women, men, gays, or transgender individuals. It is also possible to be sexually harassed away from the workplace if the connection to the harasser is the place of employment. “Quid pro quo” harassment occurs when a person who has power over your work situation (hiring, promotion, bonuses, raises, or continued employment) tries to coerce you into sexual activity or simply to tolerate harassment in exchange for work-related favors.

Common Forms of Sexual Harassment on Long Island

Sexual harassment can take many forms, some blatant and some more subtle. As long as such actions generate an atmosphere of discomfort, embarrassment, humiliation or fear for one or more employees, they are considered to be creating a hostile workplace environment. Forms of sexual harassment may include:

  • Sexual touching
  • Sexual assault
  • Derogatory statements about nonconformity with gender stereotypes
  • Use of sexual language
  • Sexual propositions
  • Sexting or posting sexual messages on social media
  • Phone calls or emails with sexual content
  • Displays of sexually offensive words or pictures (e.g. pornographic cartoons)
  • Perpetual sexual jokes or insults
  • Comments about an individual’s body or sex life
  • Sexual gestures, leering, or sounds (like whistling)
  • Giving of suggestive gifts
  • Commenting on sexual attributes, whether positively or negatively

It is important to remember that sexual harassment need not occur at the workplace itself to be considered work-related. If an employer offers to drive an employee home, for example, and makes an unwanted sexual advance, then demotes or fires the employee for not being compliant, this is a clear case of sexual harassment.

Where is the line drawn?

Not every sexual reference is a form of harassment. Incidental comments, occasional jokes or teasing are acceptable in the workplace unless they rise to the level of creating a hostile workplace environment or unless the individual complaining to a superior is ignored, or worse, retaliated against.

How to Substantiate a Sexual Harassment Claim in Nassau County

There are laws in place to protect you from victimization at the workplace, but you have some work to do to substantiate your claims so that our legal team can assist you effectively. First of all, you should keep written records of every incident that occurs. Second, you should report each episode of harassment to your supervisor, or to the Human Relations department of your company. Third, you should make specific notes on any retaliation taken against you. If you have workplace colleagues who will validate your claims, so much the better.

Retaliation in the Face of Sexual Harassment Claims

Employers often do not want to face the music concerning complaints of sexual harassment in their companies. Sometimes they have created the corrosive atmosphere themselves, or are active participants in the harassment activities. Such individuals may (and often do) punish those who make complaints in an attempt to avoid making any changes in the workplace or in order to get the “troublemaker” out of the way and to keep other individuals from complaining.

Retaliation is similar to punishing “whistleblowers.” The difference is that whistleblowers are individuals who report systemic corruption, environmental damage, or other actions affecting public health and safety, rather than personal actions taken against them personally.
There are several forms of retaliation the employer may use against the employees in sexual harassment cases, such as:
  • Giving the employee more demeaning tasks
  • Moving the employee to a less pleasant location
  • Denying the employee a deserved evaluation, raise, bonus or promotion
  • Cutting the employee’s pay
  • Demoting the employee
  • Causing harm to the employee’s property
  • Harassing the employee at home or online
  • Firing or laying off the employee
It goes without saying that any type of retaliation should also be recorded and reported so that when you come to our legal team we have the evidence we need to pursue your case.

What are legal remedies for victims of sexual harassment?

In addition to Title VII, you have further legal protection from sexual harassment if you work in New York State. This is because New York offers you protection from sexual harassment no matter what the size of your company, while U.S. law only covers you if you work in a company with more than 15 employees.

How Can Employers Protect Themselves from Claims of Sexual Harassment?

Knowing sexual harassment laws comprehensively, from the inside out, and keeping current with every new regulation or law that comes along, our attorneys are fully capable of advising you on how to keep your business on track.

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