Do You Need a New York Sexual Harassment Attorney?

Cantrell Zwetsch is one of few law firms in New York that focuses its practice on employment law, including representing individuals in claims for sexual harassment and sexual assault. We know New York sexual harassment laws backward and forwards. Unlike many other law firms, we purposefully limit the number of clients we represent in lawsuits. We focus on our core competencies, including sexual harassment claims that are particularly severe, complicated, or sensitive in nature. If you are considering a New York sexual harassment attorney, please give us a call at (800) 698-6650. Below provides an overview of sexual harassment law in New York.

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment in New York?

In New York, whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment is based on federal, state and local law. The following are some of the main laws that prohibit sexual harassment and place restrictions on whether a claim of sexual harassment will be successful:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII is a federal law that bans discrimination in the workplace. More specifically, it makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire, to terminate the employment of, or to otherwise discriminate against an individual based on a protected class. “Protected classes” include sex, religion, color, race, age, disability and national origin. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII. This federal law applies to most employers with 15 or more employees.
  • New York State Human Rights Law. Under the New York State Human Rights Law, sexual harassment is considered unlawful as a form of sex discrimination. The New York State Human Rights Law applies generally to any employer with four or more employees. However, with regard specifically to sexual harassment claims, the law was amended in 2015 to apply to all employers, regardless of the number of employees. The New York State Division of Human Rights issued guidance to employers and employees on sexual harassment claims under the New York State Human Rights Law. The guidance includes examples of sexual harassment and steps employer should take to guard prevent and mitigate sexual harassment in the workplace. The guidance can be found here.
  • New York City Human Rights Law. Under the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYC Human Rights law”), sexual harassment is unlawful. In May 2018, NYC also enacted the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, which expanded the NYC Human Rights Law to apply to all employers, regardless of the number of employees. An overview of the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act can be found here.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of common examples of conduct that constitute sexual harassment under federal and New York law:

  • Unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature (e.g., kisses, hugs, touching of the buttocks or genital, rape)
  • Unsolicited discussions or questions about sex
  • Sexual jokes, innuendos, or explicit comments
  • Propositioning someone else for sexual favors
  • Threatening adverse employment actions if an employee doesn’t agree to sexual favors
  • Nude or otherwise sexually inappropriate images in the workplace
  • Surprise dates under the pretense of a “work meeting”
  • Suggestive text messages or emails
  • Inappropriate communications after work hours
  • Cornering someone in a tight space
  • Repeated compliments on the employee’s physical looks
  • Unwanted or inappropriate gifts of a romantic/sexual nature

It’s important to talk to one of our New York employment lawyers for information regarding your specific situation. To learn more about the firm’s experience in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases, please see the firm’s employment law practice.

Statute of Limitations and Pre-Suit Filing Requirements

In New York (and any other state), to assert a claim of sexual harassment under Title VII, individuals must timely file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Federal law imposes a 300-day statute of limitations on filing claims with the EEOC; this means you have 300 days from the date harassment occurred to file a claim under Title VII with the EEOC. If the claim is not resolved by the EEOC, the EEOC will issue a Notice of Right to Sue. A Title VII claim must be filed with a court within 90 days after the EEOC issues the Notice of Right to Sue.

Slightly more time, a full year (365 days), is allowed for filing a claim with the New York State Division of Human Rights (the state agency that investigates claims under the New York State Human Rights law) or the New York City Commission on Human Rights (the NYC agency that investigates claims under the NYC Human Rights Law). Unlike filing a Title VII claim with the EEOC, filing a claim with either the state or city agency is not required before filing a lawsuit in court for a violation of the New York State Human Rights Law or the NYC Human Rights Law. The statute of limitations for filing a claim under the New York Human Rights Law or the NYC Human Rights Law is three years.

What to Look for in a New York Sexual Harassment Attorney

When looking for a New York sexual harassment lawyer, you are encouraged to compare the background of the New York sexual harassment lawyers you are considering. Apart from subject matter experience, consider the educational background, past results, and what references say about their own experiences. At Cantrell Zwetsch, our attorneys hail from the top law schools and have graduated near the top of their class. Each of our attorneys are committed to working tirelessly on behalf of our clients, striving for an effective and efficient outcome. We are glad to share references. If you or your company is considering a top New York sexual harassment attorney, consider Cantrell Zwetsch.

Finally, when vetting for a sexual harassment attorney, select one who cares! At Cantrell Zwetsch, we purposely make sexual harassment claims one of our few core practice areas. Why? Because we believe sexual harassment and sexual assault are not only unlawful but are simply unacceptable. We are here to represent you because we care. We want your voice to be heard, whether that be through hard-nosed confidential negotiations or, as if often needed, a lawsuit.

We handle sexual harassment disputes throughout New York City (including Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island) and other cities in New York, including, for example, the cities of Hempstead, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, Syracuse, Albany, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, and White Plains.

Other Practice Areas

Cantrell Zwetsch is a litigation boutique with subject matter expertise in employment law, non-compete and unfair competition disputes, and business disputes. Common examples of disputes concerning employment law we handle include unpaid wages and overtime, discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, or religion, employee benefits, family and medical leave, hostile work environment, and retaliation. The attorneys at our law firm have handled a significant number of sexual harassment cases, representing both employers, employees, and third parties. Knowing ahead of time the strategies that the other party will likely use enables us to represent you more effectively and with confidence. Please visit the firm’s litigation practice areas for more details on the type of disputes we handle and examples of past results.

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