When most people think of a sexual harassment lawsuit, they typically envision a female plaintiff who has been harassed by their employer or fellow colleagues. Although a vast majority of sexual harassment cases are filed by women, nearly 80 percent according to the Association of Women for Action and Research, men are not immune to this form of harassment either.
Our New York readers can see this fact exemplified by a case out of California where two men are suing Hooters for alleged sexual harassment that took place while they were employed at the franchised restaurant. Although their case will be decided on by a judge outside of our own jurisdictional boundaries, their case might have a similar outcome if a similar event were to take place in our state.
That's because New York's sexual harassment laws are not unlike those passed in other states. Here in our state, it is illegal for an employer or employee to make "unwelcome comments or advances," such as requests for sexual favors or making offensive sexual jokes, toward a coworker. If a victim of sexual harassment files a complaint, the accused person could face punishment at work, such as the loss of employment depending on company policy, as well as civil action if the victim files a lawsuit.
It's very important for employers and employees alike to understand what sexual harassment is and what it looks like in its many forms. Without a full understanding of what sexual harassment is, you may not be able to recognize when it's happening. And even if you recognize the signs of sexual harassment, without a full understanding of the law, you may not know that you can take legal action with the help of an attorney as well as seek compensation from the offending party.
Sources: The Association of Women for Action and Research, "Statistics," Accessed March 3, 2016
The New York State Office of the Attorney General, "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace," Accessed March 3, 2016