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Representing Victims Of Workplace Misconduct

No employee should have to endure sexual harassment in the workplace. A hostile work environment reduces productivity and should not be tolerated. However, sexual harassment continues to take place in every industry, from service industry employees to executives.

While the law is clear, legal claims alleging sexual harassment are rarely straightforward. Evidence gathered in sexual harassment claims is often disputed. The outcome of any formal allegation of sexual harassment depends on the goals of the parties involved, but there can be a lot at stake for everyone and tensions are high.

We Pursue Justice For Employees Who Have Been Harassed

The lawyers at Katz Melinger PLLC have the experience and knowledge to confidently guide you through the process. We are honest and upfront about the merits of your case and the legal consequences of the options before you. We always act in our clients’ best interests, whether it is filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), reaching a settlement or going to trial.

We represent employers and employees throughout New York City, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County and its surrounding areas, and northern New Jersey in sexual harassment claims. Our lawyers have spent their careers helping employees stand up for their rights. We understand what it takes to prove in court that you suffered sexual harassment.

We represent employees who have experienced sexual harassment and hostile work environments. “It was just a joke” is not a defense to sexual harassment. Employers have an obligation to maintain a workplace that is free from offensive behavior, including unwanted sexual advances, offensive comments and jokes, and other actions that create a hostile work environment.

What Does Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment Mean?

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a supervisor asks for sexual favors in return for work benefits or threatens to take adverse employment action unless the sexual favors are granted. In essence, if you do not go out with or have sex with someone who has supervisory authority over you at work, and they threaten to fire or not hire you, that is quid pro quo sexual harassment. It does not have to be explicitly stated: quid pro quo can consist of mistreatment or denial of employment benefits. If you have experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment, you have the right to hold your supervisor, management and employer accountable. You can also help protect other employees from sexual harassment by talking to us and standing up for your rights

How Long Do I Have To Bring A Sexual Harassment Case?

  • Under New York state law, you have up to three years from the date of the harassment incident to file a claim in court, or one year if you want to file with the Division of Human Rights. Our firm can advise you on where your claim should be filed.
  • Under New Jersey state law, you have two years from the date of the sexual harassment incident to file a claim in court, or 180 days if you want to file with the Department of Civil Rights.
  • Under federal law, you have 300 days to file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is a prerequisite for filing your claim in federal court.

How Do I Prove Sexual Harassment?

  • Retain documentation: Save Any emails or texts that discuss the incident or show sexual harassment. You can also take notes and date them as soon as possible after the harassment occurs.
  • Witness testimony: Any witnesses who heard the conversation, joke or comment should be contacted. If you discussed the situation with anyone, their recollection of the conversation is important.
  • Give testimony: The more detailed your retelling of the situation, the more relevant the information will be.

Can One Inappropriate Joke Or Comment Be Considered Sexual Harassment?

Whether one joke or comment can be considered sexual harassment depends on a number of things, including context and which law applies. Though there sometimes needs to be more than one incident, it is worth talking to a lawyer about the one comment to ensure your rights are protected.

A Co-Worker Of The Same Gender Has Been Making Lewd Jokes About Me. Even Though Neither Of Us Is LGBTQ, Is This Sexual Harassment?

Yes. Sexual harassment is about power and dominance, not necessarily sexual attraction. If anyone is harassing you in a sexual manner or harassing you about topics that have a sexual component (claiming you are not a “real” man/woman, for instance), that is sexual harassment.

If sexually charged comments or behaviors are making you feel uncomfortable at work, it is worth your time to speak to an attorney.

For Employers

With our extensive experience on both sides of employee claims regarding sexual harassment, we are in an excellent position to advise employers on workplace policies designed to prevent sexual harassment and mitigate risk. This includes general advice, contract drafting and review, and creating comprehensive employee handbooks, among other legal services. No employee should have to endure sexual harassment in the workplace. Proactive approaches can lower the risk of such behavior and mitigate the consequences if it does occur.

Understand Your Rights And Options

If you wish to explore your legal rights and options, schedule an initial consultation with Katz Melinger PLLC through this confidential online contact form. You may also speak to one of our experienced employment law attorneys by calling 212-460-0047