Brittany Stevens is an employment litigation attorney at Phillips & Associates who handles a variety of cases, including sexual harassment claims. Ms. Stevens was recently identified as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, a service that names the top attorneys in various practice areas in each state. Additionally, Ms. Stevens recently advised Super Lawyers as to what steps a person facing sexual harassment from his or her boss should take.
Sexual Harassment Defined
Sexual harassment is any conduct or behavior of a sexual nature that is unwelcome and that creates a hostile work environment or negatively affects a person’s employment. Sexual harassment can affect employees of every status, regardless of their age, race, gender, or sexual orientation. Additionally, sexual harassment is considered discrimination. Thus, it is prohibited under local, state, and federal anti-discrimination laws.
Ms. Stevens stated that there are numerous types of conduct that may be considered sexual harassment, including your supervisor or boss touching you without your permission, sending you texts, images, or emails of a sexual nature, or requesting sexual favors. Moreover, unwelcome remarks regarding your appearance or body, inquiries into your sexual history, and viewing pornographic materials at work may also constitute sexual harassment. Additionally, if you are denied a promotion or raise because you refused your boss’s sexual advances, it may also constitute sexual harassment.
What You Should Do if Your Boss is Sexually Harassing You
Ms. Stevens explained that a large number of the sexual harassment lawsuits filed in New York arise out of harassment of an employee by a supervisor or authority figure. Sexual harassment of an employee is common due to the disparity of power between the employee and his or her boss, which makes it easier for the boss to threaten the employee’s career if he or she reports the inappropriate behavior. It is important to note that even if a person is not the direct supervisor of the individual, he or she is harassing it does not mean there is not an inequality of power. Rather, if the harasser is anyone who has a higher ranking in a company, the victim may feel pressure to submit to the harassment or face detrimental employment actions.
Ms. Stevens noted several steps you can take if you are being sexually harassed by your boss. For example, you should collect any evidence of the harassment, document any explicit messages, and obtain statements from any witnesses to the harassing behavior. Further, you should report the harassment to your company’s human resources department or anyone in a higher position of authority than the individual who is harassing you. You should then file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Notably, any EEOC claim must be filed within 180 days of the date of the harassment, to avoid waiving the right to pursue a claim.
Meet with a Knowledgeable New York Employment Discrimination Attorney to Discuss Your Case
If you are employed in New York City you are protected from discriminatory behavior, including sexual harassment, by local, state, and federal laws. If you work in New York City and your boss is sexually harassing you, Ms. Stevens and the seasoned attorneys of Phillips & Associates can assist you in seeking damages for your harm. We can be reached at (212) 248-7431 or via the form online to set up a meeting to discuss your potential claims. We represent parties in sexual harassment lawsuits in New York City, and in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties, and also in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.