As seasoned Westchester Employment Lawyers, people come into our office often and describe things happening in the workplace that they call harassment. What we have to tell people is that the word harassment in and of itself has no legal meaning. The words that do have legal meaning are harassment coupled with/because of race, gender, age, disability, in New York: sexual orientation, national: origin, religion, color, and if harassment is motivated by one of those factors we can talk about what can happen.
Most frequently, our Westchester Employment Lawyers the employee that he or she must follow the employer’s policies and procedures for making a complaint of harassment. The employer’s obligation is to stop the harassment. If the employer doesn’t know about it - and we’re talking about harassment based upon being a member of a protected class, not just because we have a poor manager - if the employer doesn’t know that harassment is going on, for example, sexual harassment, the employees has no obligation to do anything.
The first thing an employee has to do is follow the procedure outlined by the employer and then when that procedure doesn’t resolve in some form of remediation, we talk about going further.