Sexual Harassment & Workplace Discrimination
What is Sexual Harassment?
In regards to sexual harassment happening at the workplace, the term “sexual harassment” refers to behavior by your co-worker or supervisor that is unwelcome, unwanted, offensive, and of a sexual nature. The behavior can be verbal, physical or pictorial and can include: offensive sexual email content; unwanted pressure for dates; touching; questions about your sexual or dating life; pornography in the workplace; and/or sexual gestures or comments. It may also include requests for sexual favors in exchange for privileges at work, which is also known as “quid pro quo.” Nearly half of all working women say they have experienced harassment.
Get to Know Your Rights
Check AAUW to learn about workplace harassment and your rights. Here’s more resources for information:
-Legal Momentum Equality Works Program: (212) 925-6635
-Safe Horizon Crime Victims Hotline: (212) 227-3000
-Safe Horizon Rape & Sexual Assault Hotline: (212) 227-3000
Actions You Can Take
Review Your Employer Procedures
Make sure you look at your employee manual and get a copy. Consider contacting the person or office who may have been designated by your employer to receive such complaints, such as Human Resources.
Documentation is Key!
Write down dates and details of any instances of sexual harassment, note any witnesses, and save all of your own copies of any emails, texts, or any other evidence of misconduct in your personal files away from your worksite.
Consult an Attorney
Beyond reporting harassment to your employer, there is not one right answer about how to proceed. It is wise to consult an attorney who can explain all of the available options. Note that there are deadlines for filing a complaint under federal, state, and city laws prohibiting sexual harassment. Ask the agencies listed about specific procedures and time limits that apply.
Learn what steps you can take if you’re facing sexual harassment or gender discrimination
File a Human Rights/EEOC Complaint
Contact the NYC Commission on Human Rights. Call 311 or 212-306-7450.
You can also reach the Office of the NYS Attorney General Civil Rights Bureau
at 212-416-8250 located at 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Civil Rights Bureau determines whether your experiences are evidence of a pattern of sexual harassment. affecting a significant number of people. The Bureau may begin an investigation and/or initiate legal action against the employer. NOTE: The Attorney General represents the People of the State of New York, not the individual making a complaint. Filing a complaint with the OAG is not a substitute for bringing a case in court.
For more information on finding help for sexual harassment in New York State, please see these guidelines from the New York State Attorney General:
For help on the national level, contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 1-800-669-4000 (TTY:1-800-669-6820) or email at email@example.com.
Resources for individuals facing other forms of discrimination or abuse
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