Building Your Case: Steps to Prove Sexual Harassment at Work in New York

Sexual harassment in the workplace is the conduct of a sexual nature imposed on people against their will to violate sexual freedom and cause embarrassment. In this relationship, there is no conscious consent of the victim.

Physical contact is not required to be characterized as a violation. It can happen through words or gestures, for example. This is the case for images sent by email, comments on social networks, or gifts. Blackmail is when there is a demand for sexual conduct in exchange for benefits or to avoid career damage.

Harassment by intimidation is with inopportune sexual provocations in the work environment to impair the employee’s performance and cause intimidation or humiliation. Sometimes confused with moral harassment, it is characterized by “insistence, impertinence, hostility practiced individually or in groups, manifesting power or force relationships that are not necessarily hierarchical,” according to the booklet.

Is Sexual Harassment A Crime?

Sexual harassment by blackmail is considered a crime. Since 2001, it has provided one to two years in prison for anyone who “constrains someone to obtain sexual advantage or favors, the agent taking advantage of his/her status as a hierarchical superior or ancestry inherent to the exercise, employment, position or function.”

In the labor sphere, however, there is still no specific law providing for sanctions for sexual harassment when there is no blackmail and hierarchical relationship, that is, between colleagues. The practice can be individual or collective, just as the victim can be one or many.

At the state level, some states also have specific legislation on sexual harassment in public service. Both the Union and the states or municipalities can be civilly liable for material and moral damages suffered by the victim. Sexual harassment at work can lead to mental and physical health problems.

Does It Need To Happen On The Job?

To be considered sexual harassment at work or How to Prove Sexual Harassment at Work in New York, the violation does not have to happen exactly in the work environment, but it has to be linked to the employment relationship. It can happen, for example, during breaks, resting and eating places, before the start of the shift or after it ends, during carpooling or transportation between work and home.

In addition to bosses or colleagues, it is also considered harassment when the violation comes from a customer of the establishment or service providers

Is It Harassment If It Happens Just Once?

The general rule is that the persistent behavior of the harasser characterizes harassment. The MPT points out, however, that a concrete case can be considered a violation, even at an isolated moment.

What To Do To Avoid Harassment

To prevent sexual harassment at work from occurring, the booklet recommends that the person clearly say “no” to the harasser, avoid being alone in the same place as the abuser and write down in detail the approaches, including day, time, place, sector and name of the aggressor, in addition to colleagues who witnessed the fact for your lawyer such as Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm for example.

Where To Report?

Complaints of sexual harassment at work can be made in spaces trusted by the company, such as ombudsperson and suggestion boxes; in reports to superiors; in trade unions and associations, in the management of the Ministry of Labor, and the Public Ministry of Labor in your locality. The formalization of the complaint in the MPT can also be done through the website. You must click on the Regional Attorney of your state and report the facts.

It is also possible to register the rape at police stations that specialize in assisting women if the victim is a woman or at a regular police station. The victim may also seek legal assistance to file a lawsuit in the Labor Court. In this process, it is possible to seek changes to the employment contract, such as changing the location or working hours, indirect termination, and compensation for moral damages.

To receive compensation for material damages, it is necessary to prove specific expenses arising from the harassment, such as the purchase of medication due to physical or mental illness due to rape, loss of promotion or salary, and loss of function for not giving in to sexual blackmail.

If there is damage to the worker’s mental and physical health, the injury may be considered an occupational disease. The victim is then entitled to rights such as receipt of social security assistance, adaptation of function or schedule, and job stability after the end of the social security benefit.

There are still cases in which sexual harassment at work can be considered discriminatory, especially due to the gender component. In these situations, Law No. 9,029/95 is applied, which provides for reintegration into work or receipt of double the amount of remuneration during the period of leave. Sexual harassment at work can lead to imprisonment, depending on the case.