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Protecting Your Rights in the Workplace

10.0Vincent Peter White

Sexual Harassment


Facing sexual harassment at work? We can help.

All employees in New York have the right to work in an environment that is free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is unlawful at both the state and federal levels and can cause significant distress to any person who experiences it.

Sexual harassment may occur at home, at school, or in public, but most often, sexual harassment occurs in the workplace. The harasser may be a boss, a supervisor, a fellow employee, or even a non-employee.

Sexual harassment causes harm when the harassing conduct or discrimination is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with an employee’s ability to do his or her job. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, the best thing you can do is speak with a trusted New York Sexual Harassment Lawyer at White, Hilferty & Albanese to learn how we can help protect your rights.


Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination of a sexual nature and can consist of unwanted or inappropriate advances, remarks, jokes, physical contact, and other forms of unwanted sexual harassment. Sexual harassment includes words or actions that range from inappropriate comments to sexual abuse or sexual assault.

Unwanted conduct can be communicated through a variety of means, including in-person, over the phone, or via email or text messages. A harasser may also make unwelcome physical contact by touching, groping, or rubbing up against the victim.

Sexual Harassment Statistics

Although sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, it is still very common in today’s society. If you are experiencing sexual harassment, know that you are not alone and that you do not have to put up with further harassment. We can help protect your rights and obtain the justice you deserve. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center,

  • In the U.S., one in three women and one in six men experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime
  • 91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female, and 9% percent are male
  • 8% percent of rapes occur while the victim is at work


When someone is sexually harassed in the workplace, it can undermine their sense of dignity and result in a hostile work environment. It may also prevent them from doing their job effectively, earning a living, or living a happy life. If left unchecked, sexual harassment in the workplace can escalate to violent behavior.

No employee should be made to feel uncomfortable at work. Sexual harassment is illegal at the federal and state level. Employers must take steps to prevent sexual harassment or risk facing major costs like decreased productivity, low morale, and legal expenses.


Sexual harassment at work is characterized by any “unwelcome” behavior that makes the person feel uncomfortable, manipulated, or objectified. But recognizing this behavior isn’t always easy, especially if you have become accustomed to this mistreatment or think “that’s just the way it is”. For instance, victims may sometimes be coerced into putting up with the harassment because they are afraid of being fired from their job if they complain.

It is never okay for someone to harass you at work. Recognizing the signs is one of the best ways to protect yourself and find the justice you deserve.

There are two types of workplace sexual harassment: quid pro quo sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Quid pro quo sexual harassment refers to any unwanted sexual advances from an authority figure, requests for sexual favors as part of the job, and other behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with an employee’s work performance or impacts employment decisions.

Hostile Work Environment

“Hostile work environment” refers to conduct that is severe or pervasive enough to make a reasonable person of the employee’s gender believe that the conditions of employment have been altered and the working environment has become hostile or abusive. New York sexual harassment does not have to be sexual in nature but can occur in a variety of circumstances.


Are you experiencing sexual harassment at work? Here are a few examples of what this harassment may look like so you can recognize the mistreatment and speak to a trusted sexual harassment attorney about protecting your rights.

  • A boss or coworker asking for sex in exchange for a favor, raise, or new job position
  • A manager or fellow employee repeatedly asking for dates and not taking “no” for an answer
  • Someone using insulting language or making comments toward women (or men)
  • Someone making unnecessary physical contact, including unwanted touching or demanding hugs
  • Calling people sex-specific derogatory names
  • Making sexual comments about a person’s physical appearance or behavior
  • Sharing pornography, sexual pictures, or other sexual images
  • Making sexual or sexist jokes
  • Harassing LGBTQ individuals due to their gender expression or sexual identity
  • Bragging about sexual prowess
  • Stalking/cyber-stalking


Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal under New York City laws.

Employees at companies with four or more employees are protected by the New York City Human Rights Law ( which governs sexual harassment, occupational sexism, and gender discrimination standards in NYC). Under this law, employees cannot be treated differently or unfairly based on your sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, pregnancy or disability.

Sexual harassment at work workplace can occur under a variety of conditions but generally involves unwanted sexual advances or behavior which negatively affects the work environment. This harassment can be verbal, physical, online, or pictorial. The victim of sexual harassment may be someone of any gender or sexual orientation; the harasser may be someone of any gender or orientation as well.


The federal Human Rights Law considers sexual harassment as a form of sex-based discrimination and is punishable by law. If you faced sexual harassment at work and your employer did nothing to resolve the situation, you may be able to file a lawsuit.

If you feel as you have exposed to sexual harassment or workplace discrimination in New York City or Greater New York, contact a sexual harassment attorney at White, Hilferty & Albanese for a free consultation. The best thing you can do is speak to one of our sexual harassment attorneys are ready to help protect your rights.


Sexual harassment in the workplace is not something you have to fight on your own. The best way to get the justice you deserve is to seek help from a trusted sexual harassment lawyer.

At White, Hilferty & Albanese, we provide experienced legal counsel and aggressive representation to victims of workplace sexual harassment. Contact us now to schedule your free consultation or Call 24/7 646-698-8990

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Do you have a sexual harassment case? Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible for compensation. Our lawyers will help you determine the depth of your case based on our understanding of the law. Read our FAQ section below to learn more.

What does “unwelcome” conduct mean?

What’s considered "unwelcome" conduct depends on the victim’s perception and experience. The best way to protect yourself is to tell the harasser that the conduct is not welcome and keep a record of the evidence to support your case. The courts will review the facts of your case to determine whether it was made clear to the harasser that the conduct was unwelcome. The courts also recognize that victims may be coerced into going along with the harassment in fear of being punished or fired.

What are the two types of sexual harassment?

The two types of workplace sexual harassment are “quid pro quo” and “hostile work environment”. In Latin, "quid pro quo" means "this for that”; in the context of sexual harassment, it means that a victim’s submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual conduct is made the basis for employment decisions (like considering an employee for a promotion). "Hostile work environment" harassment refers to how unwelcome verbal or physical conduct interferes with a person’s ability to do their work because it has created an intimidating work environment.

Can I be fired if I report sexual harassment?

No. Federal and state laws make it illegal to “fire, demote, harass, or otherwise retaliate" against employees (or applicants) who report sexual harassment. This includes if an employee complains about discrimination at work, files a charge with the EEOC, or participates in an employment discrimination lawsuit.

How do I prove that I experienced sexual harassment?

One of the best ways to support your case and eventually “prove” (to the courts) that you experienced sexual harassment is to keep a log of the behavior, conduct, and timeline of events. Take note of when the harassment first started, what occurred, when you reported the behavior, whether you had a conversation with the harasser, etc. Be as thorough as possible and keep a record of anything that may be relevant to your sexual harassment case.

How do I press charges for sexual harassment?

Victims of sexual harassment must first file a formal complaint with the EEOC before filing a lawsuit in federal court. If you are looking to file a lawsuit against your employer for sexual harassment offenses, we recommend seeking out legal counsel right away. Contact an NYC sexual harassment attorney for help.

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