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Know Your Rights in the Me Too Era

July 3rd, 2018 Victoria Breese

The “Me Too” movement has raised important issues regarding the severity and prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace. As women have shared their “Me Too” stories, they have sparked legislative action, such as the New York City Council’s passage of the Stop Sexual Harassment NYC Act last April. This act expands the obligations of employers to prevent sexual harassment from happening in the workplace. Regarding this new legislation, employers and employees ought to know their obligations and rights when dealing with this serious issue.

High-Profile “Me Too” Cases

Following the Me Too movement, there have recently been several high-profile sexual misconduct cases. For example, a former top-level gymnast, Marcia Frederick, filed a class-action lawsuit last month against the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics. She accuses the organizations of not reporting all known sexual abuse to law enforcement. This lawsuit follows the high profile case against Dr. Larry Nassar, a former physician of USA Gymnastics who was convicted of sexually abusing team members. After over 150 women testified against him, he received a maximum sentence of 275 years in prison. Effective legal action can ensure that sexual harassers or abusers like him are never able to harm people in this way again.

Stay Informed on Sexual Misconduct Laws

Responding to the Me Too campaign, the New York City Council has taken steps to fight against workplace sexual misconduct. The Stop Sexual Harassment NYC Act will implement important changes that employers and employees ought to be aware of. For example, claims of gender-based harassment can now come from all employees, regardless of the size of the employer. Starting in July, City Contractors must report their policies for preventing and addressing sexual harassment. Furthermore, employers must start displaying an anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities poster starting in September. Finally, as of April 2019, all employers with 15 or more employees must conduct anti-sexual harassment training for all employees. Employers who fail to make these updates will be in violation of the law. 

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) defines workplace sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature which unreasonably interferes with the performance of a person’s job or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.” The two illegal types of sexual harassment are quid pro quo and a hostile work environment. A quid pro quo form of harassment occurs when someone in authority requires that subordinates tolerate sexual harassment in order to keep their jobs or employment benefits.

Seek Legal Assistance For New York Sexual Harassment from a New York Sexual Harassment Attorney

Sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace cause serious harm to both women and men. In fact, a recent survey from the John Hopkins School of Public Health found that 81% of women and 43% of men have experienced sexual harassment at some point in their lifetime. These numbers are remarkably high. Victims in New York can pursue legal action to take control of these difficult situations. If you need assistance navigating your rights in New York City as a result of a “Me Too” situation, the Working Solutions Law Firm can assist you with information on your legal rights in New York State and New York City. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.