Can Sexual Harassment be Verbal?

What Is Verbal Sexual Harassment?

Many people mistakenly think that touching must be involved for an incident to be considered sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can also be in the form of verbal statements. For example, if your supervisor makes comments about how he is attracted to your body and clothing, that can make you feel uncomfortable and can be considered sexual harassment. Additionally, it is sexual harassment if someone at work expresses a desire to commit sexual acts with you.

Sexual harassment can include verbal jokes and sexual implications. For example, a coworker may make sexual jokes around you that make you feel uncomfortable. In some cases, workers tell coworkers to stop this behavior and only see it escalate. Sexual harassment may also be committed through emails, written notes and signs. Our attorneys can help you determine if you have a case. They can also tell you how to collect proof to support your case.

Distinguishing Forms of Sexual Harassment

The law recognizes two main types of sexual harassment, which are quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo happens when a superior in your workplace tries to get you to trade sexual favors in exchange for a pay raise, a promotion, benefits or other job perks. Since managers, executives and other leaders are the culprits of this type of sexual harassment, companies that employ such individuals may be held liable for their actions. If the harasser treated you in a discriminatory way after you told the individual to stop or rejected advances, you may be able to collect compensation for any damages or emotional injuries. Some people need counseling after being sexually harassed.

A hostile work environment is a work atmosphere where you feel uncomfortable. This may be due to comments, gestures or actions from customers, coworkers or supervisors. When the workplace is considered hostile, it means that whoever is sexually harassing you is offending you perpetually. Even repeated requests for dates can be considered sexual harassment if they make you feel uncomfortable at work. For a lawsuit to be solid, it is better to have documentation of yourself asking the harasser to stop. Although this takes a great amount of courage, it is an important step. If you can prove that you asked the person to stop without success, the harassment is much clearer.

Retaliation Concerns

You should always follow the employee handbook rules to report workplace sexual harassment. A supervisor cannot treat you differently, fire you or retaliate in any way if you report sexual harassment from anyone. There are local, state and federal laws that protect you from retaliation of any kind. If an employer retaliates, the company can be held liable to remedy any ensuing damages.

Filing Sexual Harassment Charges

If you want to ensure that the harasser does not hurt you or anyone else in the future, it may be prudent to file charges for verbal sexual harassment. If your workplace has more than 15 employees, you can file a claim under Title VII, which is a federal law. Since there is a time limit to file, it is better to act quickly. For smaller companies and individuals, there are state and local laws that provide protection from verbal sexual harassment. If you have a case, one of our attorneys can help you decide which type of lawsuit fits your situation.

New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyers

It can be difficult to reach out for help if you are a victim of sexual harassment. Our attorneys are sensitive to your needs and work discreetly to protect your privacy as much as possible. We serve clients in the New York City metro area and have offices in the Midtown, Downtown and Long Island areas. Please contact us for a free consultation to discuss your concerns.

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