Can I sue my employer for allowing harassment to continue?

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Can I sue my employer for allowing harassment to continue?

I work for a giant national retail chain and about a month ago I filed an official complaint against a co-worker for what I believe is sexual and racial harassment. The co-worker questioned an illness I got from inhaling concrete at work, making a sexual comment about how I really got sick. She constantly questions my intelligence and calls me

Asked on June 20, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Not only is sexual and racial discrimination or harssment illegal, but it is illegal for an employer to turn a blind eye to it once a complaint is made. If you had made no complaint, your employer would not be liable--they can't be held liable for what they did not know about. Or if you notified them and they investigated, then took appropriate steps, they would not be liable--in that case, they did what they are supposed to. But if you complained and they refused to act, that could make them liable for the harassment you suffered. A good first step would be to contact  the federal EEOC or your state's equal/civil rights agency to file a complaint--they may be able to help you get compensation without you having to fule your own suit. (If they can't or won't help, then as a next step, you could sue.)


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