The #MeToo movement has shed light on the sad reality that sexual harassment and assault are common occurrences in the workplace. At Matsikoudis & Fanciullo, we have been successfully advocating for victims of sexual harassment and assault since long before the #MeToo phenomenon began, and we will continue to fight for just compensation for victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Unwanted sexual advances and overtures in the workplace should not be tolerated. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace and suffered emotional distress, we can help you get significant compensation.
Since we opened our doors, we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients, and we can help you. We litigate sexual harassment cases on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing upfront. Instead, we only make money if we recover for you.
We Practice in New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.
Both New York and New Jersey have many laws against Sexual Harassment. Every employee should be protected by their employer and not experience sexual harassment that creates a hostile work environment. However, through our experience, we have seen many instances where employees are subjected to sexual harassment, and their rights aren’t protected by their employer.
Sexual harassment at the workplace also creates an unbearable hostile work environment and often they also experience adverse employment actions and financial harm.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Generally, any unwelcome sexist comments, or any behavior, whether it is physical or verbal, that is sexual in nature, constitutes sexual harassment. Employees may be subjected to sexual harassment by their boss, supervisor co-worker, or other people in the workplace.
What are Examples of Sexual Harassment?
Broadly speaking, sexual harassment involves either a quid pro quo, a hostile work environment or retaliation – and it could be combinations of these things.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
The Latin phrase ‘quid pro quo’ is loosely translated as: to get something in exchange for something else. In the sexual harassment context, it means that a person of authority in the workplace asks for a sexual in nature favor to gain professional advancement. The person of authority might “exchange” a sexual favor for a promotion, vacation leave, better work accommodations – or even just to let the harassment victim keep his or her job. In this case, our attorneys can assist New Jersey, New York and Illinois employees who have been subjected to quid pro quo sexual harassment in recovering significant money. Our attorneys would need to show that the employee was subjected to sexual harassment, that affected their employment – and that it caused them financial, emotional and/or psychological harm.
Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
A hostile work environment happens when the employee is subjected to an unpleasant environment due to his or her gender or sexual orientation. Examples of this can be sexual comments, gender comments, texts, or emails, sexist comments, sexual gestures, or proposals. Comments about one physical appearance can also be grounds for a sexual harassment claim.
Employers are prohibited by law from retaliating against employees who report sexual harassment. Retaliation can take many forms like termination, write-ups, and being denied a promotion that should be given.
- Wrongful termination
- Reduced Hours
- Shift Changes
- Decreased Pay
- Negative Performance Reviews
Common examples of sexual harassment:
- Sending inappropriate videos, texts, or images
- Making physical or verbal sexual advances
- Sexting with an employee
- Making Sexual Jokes
- Sharing Sexual videos
- Comments about someone’s appearance (positive or negative)
- Unwanted physical contact (hugs, touching, kissing, etc.)
- Showing inappropriate texts or images to others
- Asking for sexual favors
- Spreading sexual rumors about employees
- Asking about an employee’s sex life
- Comments about an employee’s sexual orientation
- Asking an employee to flirt with a client
Example: Mary is asked by her boss to go for dinner to go over business material, but her boss soon starts asking her about her dating life and sexual preferences. The next day after work, he texts her to comment on her outfit that day and compliment her. Mary feels uncomfortable but doesn’t know how to address the problem. She is afraid that if she turns him down, he will take negative job action against her. Employees shouldn’t tolerate behaviors like this. We commonly see misconduct like this in our practice, and if you have been in a similar situation, we may be able to help. At the very least, you should seek the help of an experienced attorney to help you navigate the best option for you.
How can an attorney help?
Our law firm offers free, no strings attached consultations that will help you assess your case and explain to you your options. All consultations are privileged – which means no one else will ever know what was discussed in them. Your initial consultation will help you understand the process and answer common questions like:
- Was this sexual harassment (as the law defines it)?
- How should I respond to my harasser, what are my options?
- What steps should I take to protect myself against further harassment?
- What can I do to prevent my employer from retaliating against me for reporting it?
Our experienced attorney will then explain to you your options and the legal steps that can be taken if any.
Virtual Sexual Harassment:
Sexual harassment isn’t limited to just the physical office. Employees can be subjected to it virtually via social media, emails, dating platforms, and video conferencing platforms. In our many years of practicing law and specializing in Sexual harassment, we have seen it all; from sexual images being sent via texts and emails or lewd comments.
- Revenge Porn
- Online Sexual Remarks
- Sending inappropriate videos, text, or images
- Displaying inappropriate images or videos
- Sharing sexually explicit emails
- Displaying pornography during online meetings
- Sharing pornography via text, social media, or email
- Online Sexual Jokes
Pursuing damages on a sexual harassment claim:
Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employee can seek damages for being sexually harassed. The New York State and New York City Human Rights laws provide similarly strong weapons for sexual harassment victims to hold their harassers and employers accountable. Under LAD an employee can seek damages for pain and suffering and attorney’s fees. Sometimes the employee can also be awarded punitive damages. Damages refer to the money an employee is due to compensate them for what they lost due to the sexual harassment. It could be financial loss, because the employee was fired, passed over for a promotion, or had his or her shifts reduced. It could also be compensation for pain and suffering – for instance, sleepless nights, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression, etc. – as a result of the sexual harassment the employee experienced. The bottom line: At a consultation, our attorneys will help you understand what compensation you may be due for what you have suffered
What are some Common Misconceptions about sexual harassment?
It is often thought that sexual harassment can only take place between a man and a woman and the harasser is usually the male. That is false. Sexual harassment can happen between any combination of genders and employment positions. Whether that be a female harassing a male or same-sex harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace exists in every case where one’s sex is the motivation for a certain behavior or action.
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