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New York Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Did the New York Jets Cross the Line?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for above-the-bar-logo-no12.jpgOur New York Sexual Harassment Attorneys have been following this issue and were asked for their comments. The Association for Women in Sports Media recently filed a complaint alleging sexual harassment with the National Football League (“NFL”) and the New York Jets. The complaint seeks an investigation into the team’s behavior during practice and in the locker room with Inez Sainz, a female reporter for TV Azteca, a Mexican television network. The complaint was made in response to another reporter who witnessed the events in the locker room and heard comments made about Sainz.

The complaint alleges sexual harassment based on several incidents that occurred during practice and in the locker room. During the practice session, coach Rex Ryan and defensive coach Dennis Thurman allegedly overthrew footballs in the vicinity where Sainz was standing. As soon as she entered the locker room, members of the team started talking about her and making jokes. While Sainz was waiting to interview Mark Sanchez, they whistled, looked at her and made “embarrassing” remarks.

Sainz said on Twitter that she was “dying of embarrassment.” However, she has stated that she was “focused on her job” and that she acted professionally. Sainz, who has now been a sports reporter for 8 years, is a former Miss Universe contestant. She is claimed to be the “hottest reporter in Mexico” as well as reputed to be one of the world’s sexiest reporters. She has a personal website with sexy and provocative pictures. On the day of the incident, she was wearing jeans, a white shirt, and boots.

Sainz was not at the Jets practice or in their locker room as a fan. She was doing her job at her workplace by reporting on the practice and then interviewing players in the locker room. Even if she is considered to be the “hottest reporter,” has a website with provocative pictures, and dresses “sexy,” it is not an invitation for sexual harassment at her workplace. If a woman is attractive or dresses outside of traditional customs, that does not allow her employees to sexually harass her in the workplace. Too often, women fear that if they look too attractive at work, they won’t be taken seriously or they will be sexually harassed.

For more information on workplace sexual harassment, check out our prior Blog entries. Sexual harassment based on hostile work environment results when your supervisor, co-worker, customer, vendor, or anyone with whom you come in contact with on the job engages in unwelcome and inappropriate sexually based behavior making the workplace intimidating, hostile or offensive. This behavior must also be severe and pervasive so that it creates an abusive working environment or an adverse employment action. If you are being harassed at the your workplace, call our experienced New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Sexual Harassment Attorneys at (800) 893-9645 to discuss your possible case and help you protect your workplace rights.

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