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Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

Legal Advocacy for New York Employees in Hostile Work Environments

Workers in New York may face many forms of discrimination in their jobs, including sexual harassment. This illegal conduct often gives rise to a hostile work environment, which can make employees so uncomfortable in a certain workplace that they feel forced to leave their jobs. If you are in this situation, however, you do not need to choose between suffering in silence and leaving your job. Instead, you should consult experienced Long Island hostile work environment attorney James J. Corbett to discuss filing a claim against your employer. Combining compassion with skill, Mr. Corbett has served clients in all five boroughs of New York City since 1997.

How a Hostile Work Environment Develops

Conduct in the workplace that is severe or pervasive can lead to a hostile work environment. A single incident of harassment generally does not give rise to a hostile work environment unless the incident amounts to sexual assault or an action of similar gravity. More typical examples of conduct that forms the basis of hostile work environment claims include:

Unlawful touching of an employee’s body

Unwelcome sexual advances, or requests to perform sexual acts

Verbal or written remarks that have inappropriately sexual content

Sexually explicit or derogatory cartoons or drawings

Intimidating an employee by blocking, trapping, or similar physical maneuvers that make the employee feel threatened

Inappropriate comments on an employee’s gender


It is important to remember that both the victim and the perpetrator of an act causing a hostile work environment can be of either gender. Moreover, the perpetrator may be not only a supervisor or manager but also a coworker or even sometimes a third party. Claims of sexual harassment based on a hostile work environment do not need to be raised by the victim. Any person affected by the situation can make this claim.

There are two main ways to establish that a hostile work environment exists in a certain workplace. The more obvious way involves showing actions that would create a hostile work environment from the perspective of the ordinary, reasonable person. The other way involves showing that conduct subjectively unwelcome to a certain employee interfered with that employee’s ability to do his or her job. To decide which of these paths is more appropriate, it is vital to consult an attorney knowledgeable in this area who can explore the specific details of the case.

Protections for New York Employees Under Federal, State, and City Laws

Workers in New York have three layers of laws that shield them from hostile work environments. The top layer consists of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law that makes it illegal to interfere with an employee’s job performance or create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. This law is limited to employers with 15 or more employees, whereas the New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws extend to employers with four or more employees.

The broader scope of the New York City laws makes them a valuable tool for employees suffering from sexual harassment. If you prevail in a claim under either of these laws or the Civil Rights Act, you may be able to get compensation for the financial losses and emotional distress that you endured. Punitive damages also may be available when the harassment has become especially harsh or pervasive.

Contact a Long Island Hostile Work Environment Attorney

Your job is a crucial part of your life, and you have the right to be free from all forms of discrimination in the workplace that you choose. If a pattern of sexual harassment has developed at your job, you should not hesitate to seek advice from New York sexual harassment lawyer James J. Corbett. We assist clients in your situation throughout Long Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Take a moment to complete our online form or call (516) 679-9494 to set up an initial consultation at no cost.