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Subject to Racial Epithets and Sexual Harrasment in Office New York

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  • Subject to Racial Epithets and Sexual Harrasment in Office New York

    My boss feels very comfortable massaging the women in the office and standing very close to them when they are sitting (so that his crotch is practically in their face). For the first two years I worked here, he never did this to me but then he started to do little things like rub my back when I did good work, then one day he just decided it was OK to tickle me. I felt sick, disgusted, worried that anytime I saw him, he would touch me and I was scared to say anything - I didnt want to cause trouble and be the only one to complain. But I got over my fear and finally said something. Although he continues to fondle the other women, he does not touch me. I still feel grossed out by his inappopriate sexual behaviour and comments, but as long as I am not subjected to it, I can stay. I also had to confront him about him calling me "Sparky", comparing me to a dog! He stopped that also.
    On a separate note, my boss has made racial comments in the office, not necessarily talking to me but as a women of color (my boss knows that I am of hispanic and black descent ) I feel he is making sure I hear these derrogatory comments. For example: "how many dominicans does it take to load a truck", "I not taking any business from some Black rapper", "The Cosby's were a 'white' family" (as if minorities can't succeed without white influence), he was even surprised I knew how to write a letter! It makes me wonder why he hired me if he has such low expectations.
    The question is - has he broken any law and if he were to ever fire me - would I be able to bring this up when claiming Unemployment?

  • #2
    The problem with waiting until you are fired to make any form of complaint is that it makes you look like a vengeful employee out to get even.

    Unemployment is based on whether or not you were fired for a reason that qualifies you or disqualifies you; not on whether you have a legal claim against the employer or not.

    If your boss is touching employees who do not want to be touched, they can file a claim of sexual harassment with the EEOC.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


    • #3
      The law doesn't require that he not touch or make comments at all. If employees are fine with it, he can say and do as he pleases. You didn't want to be touched and told him so. He stopped. That is all that is required.

      There are two ways that you could have a claim for harassment. One, you suffer an adverse employment action because of your race or sex (ex. he fires you or demotes you). This has not happened.

      Two, your work environment is so littered with racial or sexual animosity that a reasonable person would have no choice but to quit. Since he stopped touching you when you asked you don't have a claim based on sex. A few sporadic comments not directed to you that you objected to based on race are not sufficient to meet this standard. Have you told him you don't appreciate the remarks? He may not realize you find them offensive.
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


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