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Onondaga County/Syracuse Commission on Human Rights

John H. Mulroy Civic Center
15th Floor East 
421 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
(315) 435-3565

Our office is staffed from
8 am to 4 pm. Mon - Fri.

Sexual Harassment


"Unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment:

"When submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's employment,

"When submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual,

"When such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment."
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex (29 CFR Part 1604.11)



A Spectrum of Behavior Patterns
Visual Verbal Written Touching Power Threats Force
  • Ogling
  • Staring
  • Posters
  • Magazines
  • Flyers
  • Cartoons
  • Requests for Dates
  • Questions about personal life
  • Lewd Comments
  • Dirty, sexual jokes
  • Whistling
  • Name calling
  • Love poems
  • Love letters
  • Obscene poems
  • Obscene letters
  • Violating space
  • Patting
  • Grabbing
  • Pinching
  • Caressing
  • Kissing
  • Holding Hands
  • Relationships
  • Using positions to request dates, sex, etc.
  • Unwanted phone calls/home visits
  • Quid pro quo
  • demands
  • Loss of job
  • Selection process
  • Rape
  • Physical assault
  • How to Handle Sexual Harrassment

    1) Say no. Tell the harasser you don't like the behavior and to stop it. Be firm and clear, but polite. Try to have a witness present to hear you say this.
    2) If the harasser continues, tell the next person in authority: your boss, the personnel department, a greivance committee. Show the person this information. The company should work out the situation because a lawsuit is expensive for them.
    3) Keep a diary at home of what happened: date, time, place, who said and did what. List witnesses. Record any physical or emotional stress related to the incident including if you saw a doctor.
    4) Look for support among your colleagues. Other people may have experienced sexual harassment by the same person too.

    5) If you quit because the situation is intolerable, state your charges in a letter to the head of personnel and send it certified mail, return receipt requested. Your complaint is then on record with the company when you file for unemployment benefits.


    6) Places to contact for help in sexual harassment cases for Onondaga County residents:
      i) an attorney;
      ii) New York State Division of Human Rights, 428-4633;
      iii) Onondaga County/Syracuse Commission on Human Rights, 435-3565.
      iv) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (716) 551-4441 or (800) 669-4000.



    "An employer is responsible for its acts and those of its agents and supervisory employees with respect to sexual harassment regardless of whether the specific acts complained of were authorized or even forbidden by the employer and regardless of whether the employer knew or should of known of their occurence."

    "With respect to conduct between fellow employees, an employer is responsible for acts of sexual harassment in the workplace where the employer (or its agents or supervisory employees) knows or should have known of the conduct, unless it can show that it took immediate and appropriate corrective action."

    "An employer may also be responsible for the acts of non-employees, with respect to sexual harassment of employees in the workplace, where the employer...knows or should have known of the conduct and fails to take immediate and appropriate corrective action."

    "Prevention is the best tool for the elimination of sexual harassment. An employer should take all steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring , such as affirmatively raising the subject, expressing strong disapproval, developing appropriate sanctions, informing employees of their right to raise the issue of harassment and how to raise it under Title VII, and developing methods to sensitize all concerned."

    Equal Opportunity Commission Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex (29 CFR Part 1604.11)


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