There are, broadly speaking, two major types of illegal sexual harassment. The first involves actions that create a “hostile work environment” that targets an employee, or group of employees, based on their sex. The second is commonly referred to as “quid pro quo” harassment. This is often the more direct form of harassment, as it involves an employer or supervisor demanding sexual favors in exchange for some tangible benefit, such as continued employment or a promotion.
Lawsuit: Supervisor Demanded Sex for Overtime Hours
Not only is quid pro quo harassment illegal. It is also against the law for an employer to terminate or otherwise retaliate against someone who complains about such harassment. Yet time and again, we see cases in which major New York City-area employers are accused of doing just that.
Just recently, a New Jersey woman who works for Amtrak sued the well-known passenger railroad, alleging quid pro quo harassment and retaliation. At the outset, it is important to emphasize that a lawsuit is simply a statement of allegations. As of this writing, this case remains pending before a Manhattan federal court, and the discussion of the plaintiff's complaint is provided here for informational purposes only.
According to the plaintiff, a supervisor sexually harassed her on a number of occasions. At first, the supervisor asked the plaintiff out. She said no. The supervisor persisted. Eventually, the plaintiff initially agreed to a date but backed out at the last minute. She nevertheless allowed the supervisor to stay the night at her house. The next morning, the plaintiff said she awoke to find the supervisor's “head between her legs.” She told him to stop. Yet later that morning, the plaintiff said she “was against awakened to find [the supervisor] on top of her.” When she told him again to stop, the supervisor allegedly “said he would give her overtime and other things that no one else could do.”
The plaintiff said this sexual harassment continued for several months. She eventually reported the supervisor to Amtrak officials. As a consequence, the plaintiff said she was denied the ability to work overtime hours, as the supervisor continued to demand sexual favors in exchange.
The plaintiff's lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for loss of past and future income, emotional harm, and damage to her reputation and career, among other items. She is also asking for punitive damages.
Speak with a New York Sexual Harassment Lawyer Today
Regardless of how this particular lawsuit is resolved, the complaint provides a chilling illustration of just how far sexual harassment may go in some workplaces. It is against the law for an employer to demand sex in exchange for providing overtime hours or any other form of employment compensation or benefits. If this is going on in your workplace, you need to take immediate action. You first step should be to speak with a qualified New York City employment law attorney. Contact the Law Offices of White, Nisar & Hilferty, LLP, if you need help right away.