An individual who wants to work may face stress in an environment that is laden with unwelcome comments or behavior. A hostile work environment can prevent you from doing your job correctly, and knowing how to obtain relief in such a situation may be difficult. You may worry that reporting a problem will affect your terms of employment or result in your termination, or you might feel as if there is no way to correct a problem because the offensive behavior is coming from a superior. However, legal advice may be important as you consider what to do.
It is helpful to note that you are protected from sexual harassment in the workplace through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The New York Human Rights Law, which is also known as the Executive Law, also relates to your protection from harassment. Harassment can come from many different sources, including supervisors in your department or in another department. A co-worker could be responsible for harassing behavior, and a vendor, client of your company or another non-employee could be responsible for creating a hostile environment.
In some cases, employees face retaliation due to reporting harassment in the workplace. Legal action may be warranted if reports go unheeded, and litigation may be appropriate in cases of retaliatory action against an individual who makes a report. In some cases, mediation and settlements can result in the change needed to improve the work environment. In other cases, litigation may be necessary.
If you have attempted to put an end to sexual harassment against yourself or a co-worker and have faced serious professional consequences as a result, you may need advice on how to proceed. You can review our retaliation page to learn more.
Source: Richard V. Rappaport & Associates , "Nassau County and Suffolk County Sexual Harassment Claims Attorney", December 03, 2014