Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: What New York Companies Need to Know

International Lawyers Network September 2018

William J. Milani and Nancy Gunzenhauser Popper, attorneys in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, contributed to the New York chapter of the International Lawyers Network's collaborative thought leadership resource “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” 

Following is an excerpt (read the full text here):

What constitutes sexual harassment?

Epstein Becker & Green (EBG): United States law has designated sexual harassment into two categories (1) quid quo pro and (2) hostile work environment. Quid pro quo occurs where the employer or agent of the employer grants favors or advantages or makes threats in return for sexual acts. Hostile work environment occurs when the employer or agent of the employer permits or engages in severe or pervasive sexual or sex-based conduct affecting the terms and conditions of the victims’ employment. …

What body of law governs sexual harassment in your jurisdiction?

EBG: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating on the basis of sex. In two cases, Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986) and Harris v. Forklift Systems (1993), the Supreme Court held that sexual harassment was sex-based discrimination and actionable under Title VII. Sexual harassment law is rooted in Title VII, but has developed through the common law system.

For employers with fewer than 15 employees, state anti-discrimination or harassment law will govern. ...