Articles Posted in Sexual Harassment

Most people, when they contemplate workplace retaliation, picture a worker who is demoted or fired for having filed a discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuit (or EEO claim.) Retaliation in the workplace can take many forms beyond just that, though. If you believe you’ve been punished at work because you stood up for yourself (or others) in opposition to illegal practices in the workplace, you ought to get in touch with a knowledgeable New York employment lawyer right away.

One of the more hotly debated topics within employment law is mandatory arbitration agreements or, more specifically, the interconnection of mandatory arbitration agreements and claims of discrimination. New York State law says that such agreements are void and unenforceable in that context, but that law has experienced a rocky road in court across the last three years. At least two different federal judges in New York have ruled that federal law preempts CPLR Section 7515, allowing the employer to transition the case from court to arbitration.

Sometimes, though, the significance of your mandatory arbitration agreement goes beyond the procedural question of where your case will be litigated and into the question of whether the initiation of the agreement itself was a punitive act done in retalaition. That was the case for M.C., a woman who was the head of recruiting at a New York City financial technology firm.

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27 years ago, the box office blockbuster film Disclosure debuted in theaters. The Demi Moore-Michael Douglas film shone a light on a topic rarely highlighted in a big-budget Hollywood movie: workplace sexual harassment. All sexual harassment is a cancer upon the workplace, but quid pro quo sexual harassment, which was the type featured in Disclosure, is a particularly problematic thing. It places a worker under pressure to provide sex due to that party’s inferior power in the workplace (vis-a-vis the harasser) and the party’s fear of workplace reprisals (up to and including termination.) It is something no worker should have to tolerate and, if it happens to you, waste no time in taking action, including getting in touch with an experienced New York sexual harassment lawyer.

Of course, quid pro quo sexual harassment takes more forms than just what was described above. In some scenarios, the harasser, rather than threatening to punish a refusal, instead offers to use his power for your benefit if you provide sex. Offers like “I’ll make sure you get that promotion if you’ll agree to start dating me” or comments like “you could go far in this industry, and I can help make it happen if you would just ‘play ball’” are examples of this.

The recent case of an upstate New York bartender is a real-life illustration of that kind of alleged quid pro quo harassment. J.K., a bartender at a club in Hudson, sought out his supervisor to discuss possibly doing extra work and making “a little bit more money.” According to the lawsuit, the supervisor, who knew the bartender was gay, replied that he used to sleep with his manager to get shifts he wanted. The man then allegedly asked J.K. if he wanted better shifts, whereupon he spun around in his swivel chair and turned toward the bartender with his legs spread open.

In your federal lawsuit for workplace sexual harassment, one of the keys to getting the best possible result is making sure you get to put before the court all of your evidence, with none of it being stymied but a fallacious effort by the defense to exclude it. Another key is ensuring that you are successful in keeping out all of the defense’s evidence that, according to the rules, is inadmissible. Doing these things will strengthen your case and weaken the defense’s case, thereby giving you an enhanced opportunity for success. To maximize your ability to do all of these things, make sure that you have the representation you need from a knowledgeable New York sexual harassment lawyer.

Undeniably, the #metoo movement did a vital service in exposing the rampant and sometimes severe sexual harassment women endure in certain industries. As the New York Times pointed out back in 2018, though, modeling is an area where men experience an elevated frequency of harassment.

Regardless of your gender, the federal rules can be a powerful friend in your sexual harassment case. Consider, as a good example, the lawsuit of a male model currently proceeding in the Southern District of New York federal court.

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A six-figure sexual harassment and discrimination settlement made national news recently. That’s because one of the alleged wrongdoers wasn’t just any employer – it was one of New York’s best-known celebrity chefs. The case and the settlement serve as a clear reminder that, whether you’re serving sliders at a chain “neighborhood grill” or delivering delicacies at a Michelin-rated establishment, you can find yourself as the target of sexual harassment and discrimination, so you need to know what to do when it happens. That starts with reaching out to a knowledgeable New York sexual harassment and discrimination lawyer to learn more about the legal options available to you.

The agreement ended an investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office into the restaurants of celebrity chef Mario Batali and his business partner.

According to numerous current and former restaurant workers, Batali engaged in several acts of sexual harassment. Allegedly, the chef, his partner, and their company “fostered a sexualized culture of misconduct and harassment at their restaurants in New York City.”

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The responses that survivors of workplace sexual harassment experience are wide and varied. For those that prefer to resolve their matters through a settlement, some may want to ensure maximum privacy as part of that process. Others of those survivors may want to avoid a settlement that silences them, instead maintaining their freedom to speak out about those who played a role in the harassment. Whatever category you fall into, know that there are options when it comes time to hammer out your settlement agreement. To make sure that your settlement agreement meets your needs and properly protects you, retain a knowledgeable New York sexual harassment lawyer to represent you throughout the process.

For those who seek to avoid being forced to choose between getting closure through a settlement or being free to speak about their experience, New York law has already erected protections. If a bill currently advancing through the state Senate becomes law, more statutory protections for certain survivors of sexual harassment will soon be on the books.

In April 2018, Governor Cuomo signed into law a bill that says an employer may not include a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in a sexual harassment settlement unless the employee desires it. Mayor de Blasio signed into law a similar rule for New York City one month later.

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Not too long ago, Pew Research Center published research findings that, for many women, were probably supremely unsurprising. While women experienced sexual harassment across a full range of workplaces, the research found that the problem was worst in male-dominated fields. Climbing the ladder and achieving success as a woman in a male-dominated field is hard enough; you shouldn’t also have to overcome the toxicity of sexual harassment, too. If you have experienced a work environment made hostile by sexual harassment, you do not simply have to “deal with it” because the field of work you chose is populated mostly by men. Instead, reach out to a knowledgeable New York sexual harassment lawyer and find out how you can take action.

According to the research released by Pew, about 1 in 5 women in gender-balanced workplaces and female-dominated workplaces experienced sexual harassment at work. For women in male-dominated workplaces, the percentage of workplace sexual harassment was notably higher, at 28%.

A recent report from the New York Daily News is one data point that appears to further back up those numbers. The New York Mets’ baseball organization was, according to multiple female employees, a workplace “toxic” from sexual harassment.

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We’ve almost all seen them. They’re the shows featuring some combination of men and women sitting around discussing the news, politics, or sports issues of the day. While everything may be all smiles on set, behind the scenes may tell a different story. Workplaces like these where people are required to spend long hours working closely together can be a breeding ground for sexual harassment. If you’ve suffered sexual harassment in your TV job, know that there are legal options out there for you. Reach out to a knowledgeable New York employment lawyer to learn more about the best ways to protect your career and yourself.

According to one on-air personality, hers was one of those hostile workplaces. The alleged harasser and the alleged victim were the two co-hosts of a “political entertainment” TV talk show. Both were known celebrities. The alleged victim, B.M., was a former reporter and desk anchor for a major sports network and the alleged harasser, G.M., was a former professional wrestler.

According to B.M., G.M. sent her multiple text messages commenting on her appearance and making overtly sexual comments and also made in-person comments of a similar nature. B.M. eventually reported the harassment to the executive producer of the pair’s TV show but allegedly was rebuffed.

Sexual harassment often involves someone who takes advantage of their power over another person in the workplace, placing that person in a situation where they fear that speaking out would put their job at risk. New York City sexual harassment attorneys help people who feel like they cannot do anything about unwelcome sexual remarks, jokes, or overtures at work. Sexual harassment can happen in any workplace. That said, it often seems particularly common in certain types of businesses, particularly those with low wages and high rates of employee turnover. The restaurant industry has many accounts of managers who engage in all manner or objectionable activities. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that it had settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against a New York restaurant that involved such allegations.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex and several other factors. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). Sexual harassment is included in Title VII’s definition of sex discrimination, according to numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions starting with Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986). Unlawful sexual harassment under Title VII can take several forms, including unwelcome conduct in the workplace of a sexual nature that is pervasive or severe enough that a reasonable person would consider it to be a hostile work environment.

Congress created the EEOC to investigate alleged violations of Title VII and other federal employment statutes. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-4, 2000e-5. A worker with a complaint against an employer must file a charge with the EEOC before they may file a lawsuit in federal court. The EEOC will investigate the charge, and then decide whether it will pursue a civil action on the worker’s behalf. If not, it will issue a “right to sue” letter, which allows the worker to take their case to court.
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For decades, if not longer, Wall Street has had a reputation as a place dominated by men, where women must tolerate embarrassing or degrading treatment in order to succeed in their careers. When the #MeToo movement began several years ago, there were doubts about whether it would be able to affect Wall Street, particularly those firms whose cultures draw comparisons to unsupervised college fraternities. The tenacity of New York City sexual harassment attorneys has brought some relief to Wall Street employees of all genders who have experienced hostile work environments. One of the first prominent sexual harassment lawsuits on Wall Street in the past few years resulted, unfortunately, in the dismissal of several of the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff has filed an appeal challenging the dismissal in state appellate court.

Under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), sexual harassment constitutes discrimination on the basis of gender when a supervisor, manager, or other person in a position of authority makes sexual activity a condition of employment. This is known as quid pro quo sexual harassment. The “sexual activity” could involve anything from exchanging lurid emails or text messages to actual sexual contact. A key element of this type of claim is that the employee or job applicant believes that they are not in a position to decline the advances, out of concern for their job.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit mentioned above worked for a Wall Street hedge fund as a managing director and portfolio manager. She alleged in her complaint that her direct supervisor “repeatedly coerced her into sex,” with an implied threat to withhold resources that she needed for her job if she declined his advances. Most of these advances, the plaintiff claimed, occurred at “breakfast meetings” arranged by the supervisor “where his attire usually consisted of his white terry bathrobe.”
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The issue of sexual harassment in the workplace and elsewhere has received significant attention in recent years, but much progress remains to be made. As New York City sexual harassment attorneys, we continue to hear from workers in many different industries about their experiences. Sexual harassment is not limited to the workplace. Last summer, we wrote about how sexual harassment in the video game industry affects both employees of the companies that produce games and the gamers that play them. Online gaming, live-streaming, and other features of the video game industry have long had serious problems with harassment. The law offers some tools that employees can use to fight back. Gamers and others who participate in gaming communities do not have the same legal protection, but they are not helpless. At the end of 2020, one of the biggest companies that provides live-streaming services for gamers announced a new policy that cracks down on harassment on its platform.

Laws like the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace, viewing it as a form of sex discrimination. Employers violate these laws when someone in a supervisory or managerial role requests sexual activity of some sort as a condition of employment. They also commit an unlawful employment practice when they allow employees, customers, or others in the workplace to perpetrate a hostile work environment.

Many employment laws only protect employees against unlawful activity by their own employer. The NYSHRL expands its protections against sexual harassment beyond employees. Independent contractors, vendors, unpaid interns, and others who are in a workplace for business reasons are also protected against all forms of unlawful discrimination. Domestic workers are protected against sexual harassment in their workplaces. It is not clear, however, if the NYSHRL or similar statutes protect individuals who participate in online gaming, but are not directly employed by any of the businesses involved.

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