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How to Take Action Against Workplace Harassment

Addressing workplace harassment a concern and worthwhile priority for New York employers

Unfortunately, for individuals in New York City and all over the country, workplace harassment is still a very real challenge on a day-to-day basis. Understanding how to identify and prevent this from happening to you is an important way to help stop it across the country. It's important to realize that sexual harassment is only one kind of harassment. However, no kind of harassment should be allowed in any workplace at all.

Any employer who is subject to federal anti-discrimination laws has an obligation to provide a work environment free from insult, intimidation or ridicule as a result of gender, national origin, religion, color or race. An employer should be concerned with compliance for these anti-discrimination laws, but an employer should also focus on how to prevent harassment so as to avoid litigation in state courts.

Defining Harassment

Harassment refers to physical or verbal conduct that shows hostility or aversion towards an individual, or denigrates that individual as a result of that person's skin color, religion, gender, race, age, national origin or disability. Harassment can have the effect of creating a hostile or offensive work environment, can impede an individual's work performance, and can also adversely affect a person's employment opportunities. Looking at the definition of illegal harassment can seem very broad at first glance, but in the course of interpreting the various standards through the courts, it's easier to understand how harassment is actually treated and when an employer can face challenges due to alleged harassment.

One of the most important things to understand about these situations is called the reasonable person's standards. In order to determine whether harassing conduct has occurred, an employer or court may wish to consider whether another person in the same situation would find these circumstances abusive, intimidating or hostile. If a certain situation meets these standards, then it could be considered harassment.

This general interpretation also initiates the need for considering how an individual employee perceives that harassment. While the general application of harassment using the reasonable person standard is critical, the individual treatment of a particular employee is what may be considered in the courts.

 Employers can take steps to prevent harassment in the workplace by offering training to all new employees, annual training to highlight important aspects of harassment law, and by dealing with allegations of harassment immediately and effectively. An employer could be accused of ignoring harassment or allowing it to continue if he/she does not respond properly to one person's claim about harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Take all claims seriously and investigate them to comply with federal anti-discrimination laws and protect yourself from serious lawsuits.          

If you have been a victim of workplace harassment after reporting it to your superiors, reach out to leading New York employment lawyers at the offices of Hepworth, Gershbaum & Roth, PLLC at 212-545-1199 or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation.





Contact an employment law attorney in New York today for a free initial consultation and determine whether you have a case. For a free initial consultation, you can contact us online or by phone.

CALL US TODAY! 212-545-1199