Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment Lawyer serving Rockland County, NY & Bergen County, NJ

If you work or live in Rockland County, NY, or in Bergen County, NJ and are in need of a sexual harassment lawyer, The Zdanis Law Firm can help.  Lead attorney, Karen Zdanis, has both a MBA and her law degree.  She began her career consulting with Fortune type corporations and has been practicing law since 2001.  This real world understating of business and how corporations operate give her and understanding of the issues of sexual harassment that cannot just be learned in law school.  The firm is small enough to give you the attention you want but talented and experienced enough to deliver the results you need.

 How the Law Distinguishes Between Different Types of Sexual Harassment:

There are two ways the law categorizes sexual harassment claims.

Quid Pro Quo:

The first is called quid pro quo sexual harassment.  Quid pro quo harassment occurs when “submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual.”  29 C.F.R. § 1604.11(a)(2) (1993). See also Carrero v. New York City Hous. Auth., 890 F.2d 569, 577 (2d Cir.1989).

In other words, quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employee is forced to tolerate some form of sexual harassment in order to get a job, keep a job, get a raise or promotion, or to receive some other benefit. Specific acts of harassment include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment can come from a prospective employer, a current employer, a manager or supervisor, or a co-worker

To establish a prima facie case of quid pro quo harassment, a plaintiff must present evidence that she was subject to unwelcome sexual conduct, and that her reaction to that conduct was then used as the basis for decisions affecting the compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of her employment. See Lipsett v. University of Puerto Rico, 864 F.2d 881, 898 (1st Cir.1988).

Hostile Work Environment

The second type is a hostile work environment claim. Hostile work situations involve repeated behavior that is abusive or offensive, or that interferes or alters the victims’ ability to perform his or her job. Employers that know about these conditions yet permit them to continue can be found liable for the conduct of the offending employee

To establish a prima facie case of sexual harassment based on a hostile work environment, an individual must prove (1) that she is a member of a protected group; (2) that she was the subject of unwelcome advances; (3) that the harassment was based upon his or her sex; and (4) that the harassment affected a term, condition or privilege of employment.” Cosgrove v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 9 F.3d 1033, 1042 (2d Cir.1993).

When is an Employer Legally Responsible for the Sexual Harasser’s Actions?

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Under New York law, in order to recover against an employer, the complainant must demonstrate that the employer acquiesced in the discriminatory conduct or subsequently condoned it.  See, Matter of State Div. of Human Rights v St. Elizabeth’s Hosp. 66 NY.2d 684 at 687 (1985).

Does Gender of the Harasser Matter?

No, both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

 When Does the Law Protect Against Sexual Harassment?

The law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious.  Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

Lawyer Karen Zdanis Has A Distinctive Approach to Sexual Harassment Cases:

Employment law has many facets that are different from issues faced in general litigation. Not only because there are often personal and emotional issues at play, but because the laws pertaining to employment law are complex.  In some cases, an employee needs to file with a government administrative agency before going to court, or in other cases file a notice of claim within a short amount of time after being terminated.

In my opinion, which incorporates more than fifteen years of successfully representing employer and employees as clients, employment law cases are best suited for attorneys equipped with specific knowledge and experience because they involve different rules and obligations.  I make sure my clients are always as educated as possible about these choices, because an informed choice is important from start to finish.  My approach is to begin a case with as much information as possible, so that I fully understand the client’s perspective.  This enables me to formulate a strategy that is best suited for the case.

How is the Zdanis Law Firm Different?

Because each case is unique, I do not believe there is a scripted answer to apply to employment cases. I pay careful attention, especially at the beginning of a case to make sure the appropriate steps are followed.  Someone who has been discriminated against often has options as far as what legal course of action to take. An employee who has been sexually harassed should consider all options available to him or her to be able to make the best choice for his or her individual situation.

My firm is small, however I believe the personal attention I am able to provide yields insurmountable benefits.  I only take on cases that I believe have merit. If I decide to take a case, I set a plan from the beginning, tailored to each specific case’s needs. That is why I believe my approach to handling sexual harassment cases is effective.
What do I do if I think I may need a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Rockland County or Bergen?

If you have read the above information on sexual harassment and think you are a victim, the first step to deciding whether or not you should pursue a legal action is to understand your rights. I am available for a brief telephone call to determine if your situation rises to the level of a valid legal claim and to discern if it merits an in-person consultation. Good legal counsel is an important component to protecting your rights.  When you need a sexual harrassment lawyer call The Zdanis Law Frim – Rockland County, NY: 845-356-0855, Bergen County, NJ:  201-695-8005.