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What to do when dealing with sex discrimination

Employees in New York and around the country are protected by federal laws that prohibit workplace discrimination. The prohibitions against such discrimination derive from the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a sweeping piece of legislation that forbids discrimination against workers on certain grounds, one of which is gender. One type of workplace discrimination is sexual harassment.

When a woman is experiencing sexual harassment at work, it can make the work environment toxic and difficult. In order to preserve the ability to make a claim and to protect themselves, women should do several things when dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace.

Women should confront the harasser and not be silent. Women should document the harassment, including details such as time, date, what occurred and witnesses who were present. They should notify their company's human resources department. Upon notification, employers are required to take action in order to end it. It is important to ensure that the employer maintains confidentiality at all times. The law provides statutory time limits for filing a complaint, and in this type of case it must be lodged with the EEOC within 180 days of the harassment's occurrence. Consulting with an employment law attorney may be advisable, as the attorney can help draft the complaint and file it, ensuring that appropriate documentation is attached.

In addition to federal laws prohibiting sexual harassment, New York state law also forbids such practices. When people consult with an employment law attorney regarding their company's discriminatory actions, they should also ask about filing a suit in state court as well. Proper authorities should also be notified if the harassment becomes criminal in nature.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Ladies, 10 Tips for Discrimination at Work", Miri Ben-Ari , Jan. 15, 2015

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