Sexual harassment can come in many shapes and sizes and may not always look the way you expect it to look. While many instances of sexual harassment come in the form of unwanted physical touching or assault, others are less obvious yet still damaging. Obscene gestures, leering, and suggestive actions are all forms of assault and all face legal repercussions if the victim takes the harasser to court. If you have witnessed an offensive sexual gesture, it is important to consult with a New York City obscene gesture lawyer about your legal options.
What Are The Boundaries With Obscene Gestures at Work?
Employee-employee camaraderie and playful joking won’t reach the level of illegal harassment in New York City, however, if actions cross the line and make you feel uncomfortable, then it’s harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines harassment as any type of conduct that makes the workplace feel intimidating or abusive. If someone’s obscene gestures at work offend you, there are laws you can use for your defense and a New York City sexual harassment lawyer can assist you through the entire process.
To understand when an obscene gesture is harassment, ask yourself how it made you feel. An obscene gesture is harassment if it’s a form of discrimination based on race, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or marital status. For example, if an incident between two other people at work made you feel like you were in a hostile environment, you’ve also suffered harassment. This can include:
- Hand gestures that simulate sexual acts
- Obscene gestures using the mouth, lips, or tongue
- Simulating touching or grabbing
- Using the middle finger in an offensive or threatening way
- Body language used to impede or block the way
- Leering, staring, and suggestive facial expressions
Obscene gesture harassment may be part of an ongoing pattern of rude, offensive, or discriminatory behavior, or it can be an isolated event. If a manager makes a lewd gesture suggesting a sexual interest in an employee, for example, this is manager-employee harassment in New York City. If an employee makes offensive body movements at a coworker, this is harassment. Someone can harass another person in front of coworkers or when they’re alone. Harassment can happen to anybody in the workplace and is a serious offense with legal repercussions.
What Are My Rights Against Obscene Gestures As An Employee?
You have the right to a safe, harassment-free work environment in New York City, and no one should put up with sexual harassment, regardless of how “minor” the incident may seem. An obscene gestures lawyer knows small incidents can build up and create an uncomfortable environment or situation, making it difficult to excel at work or feel safe. Obscene hand gestures can make someone feel as equally uncomfortable as a rude verbal remark. Don’t assume it’s not harassment just because no one touched you or verbally expressed discrimination. Always speak up about obscene gestures in the workplace.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is the main federal law against workplace discrimination. Title VII makes any form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace illegal and gives victims the opportunity to speak out against harassers in court. On top of federal anti-discrimination laws, victims of sexual harassment in New York also enjoy protection from the NYC Human Rights Law. This law gives employees additional protection through a commission that can investigate cases of workplace harassment on its own.
Talk With A New York City Obscene Gesture Harassment Lawyer Who Can Help
If you’ve been the victim of obscene gesture harassment at work, trust someone who can help you put a stop to these inappropriate actions. In some cases, your company’s human resources department can put an end to inappropriate or offensive nonverbal actions in the workplace. In other cases, you should contact a New York City sexual harassment attorney.
When you need aggressive, passionate representation in NYC, trust Joseph & Norinsberg LLC. Our New York City attorneys are committed to getting victims of sexual harassment the best outcomes for their cases. For experienced legal help, call 212-227-5700 or contact us online.