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Defining harassment at work

New York employees should understand that there is a difference between being disrespectful and harassing someone in the workplace. It is important that a company's HR department does whatever it takes to create a culture that embraces kindness and respect for everyone. There are a variety of state and federal statutes that treat certain types of harassment as unlawful, and in some cases the legality is based upon the status of the victim.

For example, a manager may try to imply that a worker's job status is dependent on complying with demands for sexual favors. This is known as quid pro quo harassment, and it may be easier to prove than claims of a hostile working environment. The latter may be more difficult to prove because simply making someone uncomfortable by telling a joke or making a comment may not interfere with that person's ability to do his or her job.

It is important that someone who feels offended by conduct on the job makes his or her feelings known. In addition, it is necessary to show that the harassment continued and was pervasive after a worker voiced his or her concerns. It is important to recognize that workers of either gender can be guilty of harassment. Furthermore, workers may take actions that constitute harassment whether they intended to do so or not.

Employees who believe that they were the victims of harassment or discrimination at work may wish to take legal action against their employers. It may be possible to use wage data, records from performance reviews or management statements to show that a member of a protected class was treated differently. An attorney may for example seek back pay after a wrongful termination.

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The Law Offices of Jeffrey E. Goldman
501 Fifth Avenue
Suite 1900
New York, NY 10017

Phone: 646-835-2063
Fax: 212-949-5085
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