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March 24, 2020

Tackling Sexual Harassment in New York Workplace

The Empire State is setting the gold standard when it comes to protecting employees. With the state leading the way for harassment reform, in 2018 New York has passes a number of initiatives to eliminate inappropriate behavior in the workplace, holding businesses accountable for the actions of their workers. Thus, effective from October, 9, 2018, it’s necessary for all employers in New York State to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy that equals or exceeds the minimum standards set by the New York State Department of Labor. The employers are also required to provide anti-harassment training to all employees. A year later, another legislation that reinforced employees’ protections against sexual misconduct was signed. Such measures represent an important step towards fighting such an ugly phenomenon as sexual harassment. Still, each individual employee also should contribute to the elimination of the problem in question. If you currently work in the Empire State, don’t stand aside. Remember that it’s your duty to stand up against harassment at a time where men and women across the country are taking a stand, saying “Enough is enough” to workplace harassment.

Below are some simple recommendations that will help you prevent and deal with workplace sexual misconduct.

# 1 Consult a Workplace Attorney  

There are times where an employee finds themselves unable to figure out if their particular case qualifies as sexual harassment. Some mistakenly assume that it’s only their boss or someone holding a higher position who can commit harassment, while others are convinced that only women may fall into the category of victims of workplace harassment. In fact, the perpetrator can be any coworker who makes unwelcome sexual advances to another employee in the workplace and thus interferes with their ability to do their job. So, if you’re not sure whether yours or your colleague’s situation “counts,” don’t hesitate to consult a reliable employment attorney NYC. By doing so, you’ll be able to defend your rights, punish the perpetrator without fear of any possible retaliation, and restore your psychological comfort in the workplace.

# 2 Confront a Harasser

If you happen to suffer from sexual harassment, try to confront the perpetrator. Do this is a respectful and tactful manner. Explain firmly but politely that his or her innuendoes or advances are not welcome. Ask the person to stop.

# 3 Report the Cases of Sexual Harassment

You should know that you can always immediately report instances to your supervisor without confronting the harasser. If you believe you’re a victim of harassment or witness it and have supervisory responsibility, be sure to take a look at your employer’s policy and follow it. Typically, your first step to getting help is to alert an appropriate official. If you don’t have any idea where to start, or you’re just not sure, or have some questions, talk to someone in your HR or EEO office. Once alerted, it’s then your employer’s responsibility to take step to investigate and stop the misconduct. Businesses are strongly encouraged to provide accessible points of contacts for employees to bring complaints. Moreover, those who report the harassment case need to be sure they won’t suffer retaliation as a result of any complaint made in good faith.

# 4 Stay Informed

There should be a zero tolerance policy towards any form of workplace harassment, including not only sexual harassment, but also harassment due to race, religion, ethnic background, age, or disability.  To understand what types of actions and behaviors constitute harassment and what don’t, be sure to commit to attending and participating in all training sessions provided by your employer regarding workplace harassment. It’s your moral duty and responsibility to stay informed and act in accordance with anti-harassment laws and regulations of New York State.

Final Word

Despite decades of attention in the media and courts, harassment remains a significant problem in today’s business environment. We all know that workplace harassment is against the law and social morality. In addition to being illegal and morally reprimanded, harassment negatively affect the workplace by undermining the integrity of the employment relationship, harming employee morale, and interfering with productivity. In our today’s article, we’ve discussed the most effective and reliable ways to fight workplace harassment. Hopefully, you’ll take them into account and do your best not to let harassment cases happen in your workplace. Remember, in addition to a formal policy, training, and reporting process, it’s also in your best interest to discourage some of the behaviors that might lead to harassment, such as scabrous joking, using crude language, and posting sexually suggestive photographs in the workplace. While it’s impossible to monitor the behavior of every employee, setting reasonable limits and raising sensitivity can make it less likely that the line will be crossed.  

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