Thankfully in this day and age, there is a lot of awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace. That is not to say that individuals are not still scared or intimidated to confront this harassment, but at least it is a topic that is on the minds of those who run our state. The Office of the NYS Attorney General Civil Rights Bureau has outlined a lot of resources for anyone who needs support with this matter, including various hotlines and a way to contact advocates.
As New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman writes in the bureau’s ”Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” brochure, “it is important that all workers know that there is help available for those who believe they are being illegally targeted.”
Sexual harassment goes far beyond your very blatant touching or sexual advances. Sexual jokes, requests for sex or public pornographic images can also be seen as sexual harassment. Even sexual gestures, such as pantomiming sexual acts, can be considered sexual harassment.
Our laws protect men, women and third parties, no matter their sexual orientation. When it comes to third parties, this can be a little confusing. Some examples of this kind of harassment include when two consenting adults are engaging in sexual conduct that is creating a hostile work environment for another person, or when the harassment that is directed at one individual affects the work environment of others around them.
If you feel you are the victim of sexual harassment, start by following your company’s procedures to file a complaint. If you are not being heard or your complaint is being dismissed, contact an attorney in order to protect your rights.