The #MeToo Movement and Harassment in the Workplace

The #MeToo movement dominated the headlines of 2017. It was the largest sexual harassment event of the generation, and its effects are still lingering on in the workplace. The ‘Silence Breakers’ from the movement were collectively named the 2017 Person of the Year by TIME and for the last several years stories of harassment and abuse in all sectors of business have been pouring out. While its evident that people are taking notice of the movement, the real question is what type of impact #MeToo has really had in the workplace.

A Complaint Alleging Violation of the Human Rights Law May Be Filed with the Division of Human Rights or NYS Supreme Court

Sexual harassment and all crimes of that type are found in the Human Rights Laws of New York State. Many people are unfamiliar with these laws because they do not understand how the law can protect a person’s right to a fulfilling life. Once you understand what these laws are for and how you can file an alleged violation, then you empower yourself to use the law to possibly prevent people from discriminating against you.

Syracuse Sexual Harassment Lawyers

Our experienced legal team is ready to work on behalf of Syracuse sexual harassment victims. We use our experience to answer your questions and help you to understand all of your options. Our caring and compassionate approach means that we are on your side and understand the damage sexual harassment can do. We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions, or if you are the victim of sexual harassment in a Syracuse workplace.

Can You Identify Sexual Harassment?

Generally, sexual harassment occurs when sexually-charged actions or words are used without the consent of the victim. Actions such as constantly making a co-worker uncomfortable by getting too close to them or making unwanted contact with them can be sexual harassment or, depending on the severity, possibly sexual assault.

Every Syracuse area worker has the right to be in a workplace where they are not humiliated or made to feel uncomfortable in any way because of sexually-charged conversations or other verbal contact with co-workers. When a supervisor constantly makes unwanted sexual advances on a subordinate, then that is sexual harassment and that victim is protected by the law.

Syracuse Sexual Harassment Lawyers

There are many forms of sexual harassment including coercion, sexual intimidation, and unwanted sexual advances. In general, legal authorities will try to use two types of designations to help generalize sexual harassment claims. Those designations are quid pro quo and the hostile work environment.

Quid Pro Quo

A quid pro quo sexual harassment situation occurs when a supervisor or anyone in a managerial position offers a subordinate a reward for sexual favors. The reward could be a raise in pay or some extra paid days off, but there has to be some sort of exchange involved for this to be considered sexual harassment.

Some people will argue that this constitutes consent on both sides and should not be considered sexual harassment. When an employee is told that they have to give sexual favors to get something they could earn by working hard at their job, then that situation becomes one where the supervisor is abusing their power through sexual harassment.

The Hostile Work Environment

The hostile work environment is created when persistent acts of sexual harassment have been communicated to management and they are allowed to go on without any interference from management. For example, if there is an employee who continually makes unwanted sexual advances at co-workers or is persistently telling sexually-charged jokes in open work areas, then these create hostile work environments.

In the hostile work environment, there is usually no respect for co-workers or even management. A hostile work environment is not only dangerous to a company because of the sexual coercion lawsuits it can create, but also because of the way it negatively affects worker morale and productivity.

Why Is Sexual Harassment Dangerous For Syracuse Workers?

Sexual harassment is sometimes made out to be a petty offense that is just part of the Syracuse corporate world. But the truth is that sexual harassment in the workplace can have severe damaging effects for the workers and their companies.

A worker who becomes a victim of sexual harassment can often take on symptoms similar to anxiety. They begin to withdraw from company social functions, they are not as engaging with their co-workers during the workday, and their productivity suffers. Sometimes they miss out on opportunities to advance because they are unable to focus on their work and improve the quality of their output.

Sexual harassment can cause medical problems such as heart issues, anxiety attacks, eating disorders, clinical depression, alcohol abuse and high blood pressure. At home, victims might allow their personal relationships to deteriorate and might isolate themselves from their family and friends. The psychological and emotional damage caused by sexual harassment can go on for years.

A company that does not act to remove sexual harassment from the work culture may find it hard to hire employees, retain existing employees, and find it difficult to shed the negative image the company could get on social media.

What Syracuse Workers Can Do About Sexual Harassment

Your company is required to have a set of policies in place designed to combat sexual harassment. These policies would include the ability to file a report of sexual harassment, have that report investigated, and and the results given back to the victim. It is also illegal for your company to punish you in any way for filing a sexual harassment complaint. You cannot be demoted, dropped in pay grade, or fired for reporting your situation.

Finding The Strength To Fight Back

We understand that sometimes stopping sexual harassment is not as simple as filing a report with your human resources department. The emotional and psychological damage that sexual harassment can do will sometimes leave a victim confused, scared, and unsure of what to do next.

Your career is worth fighting for, and so are your civil rights. You deserve respect in the workplace, and you should not have to tolerate inconsiderate aggressors as you go about your daily job tasks. That is why we always encourage Syracuse sexual harassment victims to give us a call and talk to one of our compassionate attorneys. If that is not comfortable for you, then talk to a friend or family member that you trust. Sometimes it takes the supportive words or actions of others to give you the strength you need to fight back.

What If The Company Does Not Respond?

Unfortunately, filing a complaint of sexual harassment does not guarantee that the company will work with you to solve the problem. There are still some companies in the Syracuse area that have older corporate cultures that do not feel the need to offer the protections under the law to which every worker is entitled. In those situations, your report might be ignored or you might be told that nothing is going to be done. Does that mean that your situation is over?

When your company refuses to do anything about your sexual harassment report, then that empowers your aggressor and indicates that your company might not want a workplace built on mutual respect. Sometimes those realizations cause victims to look for new jobs with companies that have more progressive beliefs. But that still leaves the sexual harassment situation at the old company unresolved.

You have the right to seek out legal guidance about your sexual harassment claim when you feel that the company has dropped the ball. Not only would you be fighting for your own rights, but you would also be trying to change the toxic culture of a company that allows that sort of behavior.

Our legal team have many years of experience in helping the Syracuse victims of workplace sexual harassment to fight back and make a statement. Our legal team understands the delicate nature of your situation, and that is why each consultation is done with compassionate and based on mutual respect.

We will listen to your claim, and we will give you your legal options. We can be your legal team throughout your fight, and we will work to get you the maximum available compensation for your situation. Contact our experienced sexual harassment lawyers today by calling (716) 333-3300 or submit a contact form here, and get the guidance you need for this very important situation.

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