When faced with sexual harassment in the workplace, you should take the following steps:
Object to the Harassment: Tell the harasser to stop. Tell them clearly and firmly that their conduct is not welcome and must end immediately. Do not leave any doubt in their mind that you want them to stop. Harassment is a form of bullying. Workplace bullies act brave when they think you are weak, but they often go away if you stand up to them.
Report the Incident: Tell your supervisor and the human resources department what happened. You should use your company’s formal reporting process if they have one. If not, then report the incident in writing or by email. Be specific about what was said, who said it, when, and where. Keep a copy of your report.
Get Some Moral Support: Sexual harassment can cause severe stress no matter how strong you are. It is especially stressful if the harasser is a supervisor or a friend of a supervisor. Do not go through this alone. Talk to a close friend or family member about what happened and how it is affecting you. Having a trusted confidant will reduce stress and help you make better decisions.
Keep a Record: Keep a log of any ongoing sexual harassment. Write down dates, times, what was said or done, and who was involved. Keep this log separate from any personal journal or diary. In New York, you may use your smart phone to secretly record what the harasser says to you. That can be powerful evidence. (But you must be present when the recording is done. You cannot leave your smart phone in a room to record conversations when you are not present.)
Gather Your Work Product: Make sure you keep copies of your accomplishments at work. Keep copies of your work product, performance reviews, commendations, awards and anything else that shows you are a good, valued employee.
Do Not Quit: Quitting your job will make it very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to bring a claim against the harasser and the company. Before you quit, talk to an experienced employment lawyer. Your lawyer may be able to intervene and get the employer to stop the harassment.
Consult an Experienced Employment Lawyer: Getting advice from a lawyer early in the process is the best way to stop the harassment and, if necessary, build a strong case for damages. A good, legitimate employment lawyer will give you a free consultation. If you need to bring a lawsuit and have a strong case, your lawyer will take the case on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will not pay any legal fees unless you win.
Do Not Delay: You must act promptly for two reasons. First, acting immediately helps build your credibility. Second, there are strict time limits for filing a claim under New York City, New York State, and federal laws. Failing to act promptly may result in the loss of your claims.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced sexual harassment lawyer, call John Howley, Esq. directly at (212) 601-2728.
Prepare Yourself for a Successful Lawsuit
Fighting back against sexual harassment requires more than evidence and a good lawyer. You need to be mentally and emotionally prepared to stand up for your rights. Here are some tips to get started.
Confide in a Close Friend. Tell someone close to you what is happening at work. Simply telling a sympathetic listener will relieve some stress. You will be empowered by the knowledge that you are not alone, no matter what is happening at work.
A trusted friend can help you make wise decisions. You should not make important decisions such as starting a lawsuit when your judgment may be clouded by anger, stress or fear. Having the support of a close friend or family member can help you reach a state of mental and emotional confidence.
Your confidant may also become an important witness if you decide to pursue legal action. He or she may be able to corroborate your timeline of events, the emotional impact the harassment had on you at the time, and the continuing effects today.
Get Professional Counseling. Doctors are taught that they should never self-diagnose. The same advice applies to the rest of us who lack their medical education and training.
Healthcare professionals have the training and experience necessary to identify subtle effects on your psyche. While most people in this field are by nature compassionate, as professionals they are also committed to giving you objective advice. Unlike a family member or close friend who might “pull punches” because they do not want to hurt your feelings, a healthcare professional can tell it to you straight. You need that balance of professional advice and unconditional support.
These benefits alone are good enough reason to seek professional help, whether or not you ever start a lawsuit. Seeking professional counseling or therapy before you see a lawyer will also help your succeed in court. The fact that you sought professional help, on your own, may help convince a judge or jury that your emotional harm is real.
Be Confident, Strong, and Proud. You did nothing wrong. This situation is not your fault. You have no reason to be fearful, anxious, or ashamed. The only people who should have those feelings are the people who have harassed you at work, and the people who did nothing to stop it.
The harassers are cowards. They appear to be extremely confident when harassing others and getting away with it. But truly confident people do not harass or bully anyone. The need to harass and bully others comes from a deep sense of insecurity in the bully.
Your harassers are the weak ones. When you fight back from a position of emotional balance and confidence, justice will prevail.
When you are ready for the next step, call John Howley, Esq. at (212) 601-2728 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Government Alleged Female Director Was Paid Less Than Male Counterparts in Violation of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII
Two logistics and warehouse companies have agreed to pay $45,000 to settle claims that they paid a female director less than her male counterparts.
According to the EEOC, a female director of intermodal operations for the companies was paid less than three male directors. The woman learned that she was being paid less than the men when she came across a pay stub of a male counterpart after he was fired and she took over his position.
The Equal Pay Act prohibits companies from paying women less than men for work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility that is performed under the same or similar working conditions. Pay discrimination also violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex.
The $45,000 settlement will be paid to the victim to compensate her for the discriminatory pay differential. The companies also agreed to provide anti-discrimination training and post an equal employment opportunity notice at the workplace.
If you have been discriminated against in terms of compensation, promotions, or job assignments, you should consult with an experienced employment lawyer to protect your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for back pay, future pay and other damages.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call John Howey, Esq. at (212) 601-2728.
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