Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which applies to individuals working in both the private and public sectors. An article in The New York Times reported that the State of New York paid $5 million to settle 11 sexual harassment cases between 2008 and 2010. Out of 11 of theses cases, five involved the State Department of Corrections and Community services and three involved public universities. According to the Attorney General’s Office, these cases are only a fraction of the sexual harassment cases that occurred in government or public employment workplaces.
New York is not alone in its spending of millions of dollars to settle sexual harassment lawsuits. New Jersey also spent $3.9 million settling 27 cases between 2006 and 2012. Also, like New York, the New Jersey State Department of Corrections was among the government agencies involved in sexual harassment cases. However, the number one department with the highest dollar settlements was the state Department of Law and Public Safety, which included the State Police and Juvenile Justice Commission.
You have the right to recourse under the law if you face sexual harassment in the workplace. Discuss your situation with a New York employment lawyer and find out how you can protect your rights.