Harrisburg, PA- A Harrisburg-based construction company appeared before the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission on Monday to answer to allegations that a supervisor sexually harassed an employee whom the company later fired.
PennLive reports that a former employee of the Capitol Installation Corporation accused her supervisor, Don Camplese, of creating a hostile workplace by making sexual advances and inappropriate comments toward her while she was employed with the company in 2010.
The former employee was fired in 2011, which she alleges was retaliation for filing a formal sexual harassment complaint.
In Monday’s hearing, Camplese denied the woman’s allegations, telling the court that the company was dissolved in 2012 after the founder died. So, that means if the Human Relations Commission finds the woman’s allegations to be true, she would be unlikely to recover any financial damages.
The plaintiff’s attorney told PennLive that his client’s suit is more about “principle” than monetary damages and that is true in many sexual harassment cases. Principle is also one of the primary reasons victims of workplace harassment pursue formal complaints even though often face scrutiny. The victims want their employer to admit there was a problem, and take corrective actions when appropriate.
The monetary damages awarded in sexual harassment cases serve two purposes. First, a financial settlement awarded to targeted individual or individuals allows serves to recognize the emotional distress they experienced as a result of their harassment. In this case, the victim said she suffered anxiety, depression and migraine headaches as a result of the repeated harassment she suffered. And secondly, damages are often punitive and serve to punish an employer for allowing the harassment to go on unchecked.
Each year the Equal Employment Opportunity commission receives an average of 30,000 complaints of sexual harassment workplace discrimination cases. That’s a pretty high number, but sadly those complaints represent only a fraction of actual cases of workplace harassment and discrimination that occur. Experts estimate that only about half of all incidents are reported.
A Washington Post study from 2011 found that six out of ten women said they had been sexually harassed at least once in their working lives. Oftentimes those who have the strength and energy to pursue a formal sexual harassment case endure a persistent and pervasive pattern of sexual harassment which, in the worst cases, can result in an assault.
Those, who face sexual harassment, feel humiliated, embarrassed and degraded. This can wear on a person over time, causing some victims to suffer stress-related illnesses. Harassment can cost a person their mental well-being and their livelihood, so it’s only fair they have an avenue to recoup the losses they suffered because of another person’s inappropriate behavior.
Sexual harassment attorneys pursue workplace discrimination cases to ensure there won’t be any future victims. The toxicity created by discrimination or harassment is damaging for the victims and the workplace as a whole.
No one should have to endure repeated harassment and when they take steps to end it, their employer should back them up not fire them. If you find that have been subjected to sexual harassment and retaliation, you can reach out to one of our Pennsylvania sexual harassment attorneys to discuss the details of your case and outline your best course of action.