It’s a sad fact that some workers go to work every single day only to be harassed by the people they spending most of their working hours with. While it’s easy to say “Just get a new job.” that simply may not be an option and the reality is, that even if one worker does find a new job, it won’t stop the cycle of harassment. So what legal options do employees have if they are being harassed?
New York Discrimination & Harassment Laws
In the state of New York, it is against the law to harass a worker for their:
- National Origin
- Skin Color
- Gender Identity
- Relationship Status
- Familial Status
- Political Affiliations
- Prior Arrests
- Genetic Information
- Use Of A Service Animal
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If harassment does occur, the issue can be reported to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to this government agency, anyone who believes that they are being harassed should:
- Ask the person who is harassing them to stop, but only if you feel comfortable and safe doing so.
- Check with your employer to see if there is a workplace policy regarding harassment and follow the guidelines given by the employer.
- If the employer does not have a set guideline, still speak with a supervisor about the situation.
- If the harassment doesn’t stop or you don’t feel safe speaking with your employer, file a complaint with the EEOC. This complaint can be filed either online, by phone, or in person but there are time limits. To learn more about how to file with the EEOC, visit this page.
The other step that should be taken is contacting an experienced worker’s rights attorney who can help take legal action and to secure the evidence need to prove the harassment is taking place.
What Do I Need To Prove Harassment Occurred?
In order to prove that harassment did indeed occur, an employee needs to:
Have A Protected Characteristic
In order to have a legitimate case, the harassment must be taking place because of one of New York protected characteristics.
Show That Offensive Conduct Occurred
There are many ways that offensive conduct can happen including physical attacks, derogatory jokes, name-calling, threats both physical and nonphysical, like telling an employee they won’t get a raise.
Show The Conduct Was Unwelcome
The victim must show they let it be known that the offensive conduct was indeed, offensive. This is why it’s important to follow the EEOC’s steps and why it’s important to discuss the situation with a supervisor.
I Already Filed With The EEOC, Should I Pursue Legal Action?
The decision to take legal action is a deeply personal one and is not something that anyone else can decide for you. However, here are the possible benefits of working with a lawyer. The victim could get:
- Monetary damages.
- Moved to a new shift.
- The removal of their abuser from their workplace.;
- The improvement or creation of workplace policy regarding harassment.
- Coverage of attorney’s fees.
What Kind Of Evidence Do I Need?
There are many things that can help build a harassment case and many are things that a victim can start collecting right now. Victims should keep:
- Records of phone calls
- Text messages
- Witness contact information
- Dates, times, and copies of paperwork submitted to a supervisor
- Photographs of objects used to harass or the actual object
- Performance reviews from prior to harassment and after it began
- Medical records
An attorney can help obtain these records and may also be able to get additional evidence such as surveillance video.
Our law firm stands strong against harassment and we are ready to help you. To learn more about our legal team and how we can assist you, contact us now.