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Harassment
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Harassment is one of the most common accusations in legal practice. In addition, it falls into the criminal law category. However, it is not always followed by criminal punishment. Mild forms of harassment can be punished with a fine. If you have been harassed at work, then please contact the Human Right Advocacy Firm. Our sexual harassment attorneys and lawyers can help with any workplace abuse case.

So what is harassment?

Harassment includes the following acts committed with the “purpose of seriously alarming, annoying, tormenting or terrorizing a person," such as:

  • Physical contact, hitting, pushing, kicking, or touching a person or subjecting him to physical contact;
  • Obscene language or gestures. Using obscene language or obscene gestures against another person in a public place may constitute harassment;
  • Surveillance. Overt or covert pursuit of a person in a public place or an obsessive desire to be around;
  • Abuse. Repeated insults, ridicule, foul language, or offensively rude communication.
  • Telephone and Internet harassment. It is harassment to start communicating with a person anonymously, via phone, computer, social networks to intimidate or threaten such person with physical harm or property damage. It includes obscene comments, statements, wishes, or suggestions by phone, computer, or social networks. In addition, making a phone call or multiple phone calls, whether followed by a conversation or not, without the purpose of a legitimate conversation or repeated communication at an inconvenient time that implies an invasion of the privacy of another person is harassment.
The severity of the harassment

New York City provides penalties for harassment. New York City Criminal Law §240.25-240.32 identifies four kinds of harassment, according to the severity of the action and a distinct class of harassment crimes.
Harassment in the Second Degree § 240.26

Second-degree harassment includes a wide range of crimes that can be classified as:

  1. “Blows, shocks, kicks” and other physical contacts;
  2. Following a person in a public place (similar to stalking);
  3. Alarming or "seriously annoying" behavior that "serves no legitimate purpose."

This is the lowest crime rate in New York and is punishable by a fine of up to $250 and/or potential jail time of up to 15 days.



Harassment in the First Degree under § 240.25

Harassment in the first degree includes intentional and repeated harassment of another person by staking or surveilling such person in a public place or “which places such person in reasonable fear of physical injury.” This is a Class B misconduct punishable for up to three months in prison and a fine of up to $500.



Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree under § 240.30

Second-degree aggravated harassment covers a wide range of misconduct. This offense can be expressed in one of the following acts with the intent to harass another person: anonymous communication, phone calls, harm to family/household members. In addition, if someone committed first-degree harassment within the preceding ten years or has previously been convicted of such offense, it reclassifies into aggravated harassment in the second degree. It is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.



Aggravated Harassment in the First Degree under § 240.31

Aggravated harassment in the first degree is a class E felony, which is the highest punishable offense. This includes harassment based on "race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation." This includes the following actions taken "with intent to disturb, annoy, threaten or alarm":

  1. Damage to religious premises;
  2. Repeated aggravated harassment of the second degree;
  3. Drawing a swastika on someone else's property;
  4. The burning of the cross;
  5. Damage to someone else's property.

This is punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.



Stalking Under NYC Penal Law § 120

New York state has four different levels of stalking crimes. Some of the commonly recognized “stalking” activities may overlap with the offenses for harassment described above.

A person can be charged and convicted if that person knowingly:

  • threatens another person and repeatedly stalk, approaches or comes into contact with such person or family members of that person, or anyone with whom this person has or had a relationship;
  • obtrusively and repeatedly engages in any form of communication with this person, family members of that person, or anyone with whom this person has or had a relationship, regardless of the marital status of such person;
  • repeatedly harasses, approaches, contacts, monitors or engages in any form of communication with another person, family members of that person, or with anyone with whom the person has or had an ongoing relationship, in such a way that the person or members of his family or anyone with whom this person has or had a relationship, and such person suffer emotional distress.
Below the four grades of stalking in New York:
Stalking in the fourth degree under § 120.45
This level of stalking includes actions directed at a specific person " without a legitimate aim ." Stalking is harassment if the accused knows (“ or reasonably should know ”) that it will cause fear of physical , mental , or emotional harm or jeopardize work or business . Such activities may include stalking someone , including GPS tracking . This is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to three months in prison and a fine of up to $500.

Stalking in the fourth degree under § 120.45
This level of stalking includes actions directed at a specific person " without a legitimate aim ." Stalking is harassment if the accused knows (“ or reasonably should know ”) that it will cause fear of physical , mental , or emotional harm or jeopardize work or business . Such activities may include stalking someone , including GPS tracking . This is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to three months in prison and a fine of up to $500.

Stalking in the third degree under § 120.50
Third-degree stalking means that persecution occurs three or more times before conviction, repeats within 10 years after conviction, or occurs within 10 years after another violent crime against the same victim or victim's immediate family member. On the other hand, any behavior that puts a person in fear of injury, kidnapping, sexual assault, unlawful imprisonment, or the death of a person or family member of such person is also third-degree stalking. This is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Stalking in the second degree under § 120.55
It includes the aggravation of any third-degree stalking offense committed with a gun after another conviction of third-degree persecution or more than 10 events of persecution. Also, suppose a person over the age of 21 repeatedly exposes a person under 14 to fear physical harm. In that case, it will be considered second-degree stalking. It is a Class E crime punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Stalking in the first degree under § 120.60
It is the most severe degree of stalking. It includes any offense of the third or second degree of stalking that occurs in conjunction with the willful harm of the victim or the commission of another offense. It may be classified as a Class A misdemeanor or a Class D felony. Class D is punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Any case involving harassment is a fairly serious charge and entails a trial that either party cannot do without a lawyer. If you are looking for harassment lawyers nyc or sexual harassment attorney new york. Our lawyers will help you understand all the intricacies of anti-harassment legislation and represent your interests in court.
Human Rights Advocacy Firm lawyers are ready to defend your interests in any unfair situations where an individual's rights and legitimate interests are violated.
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