Pennsylvania Sexual Harassment Law
Regardless of what position you hold within a company, you have the right to be treated with respect and to feel secure when you enter the workplace every day. If you are the victim of sexual harassment in Pennsylvania, you have many resources available to make it stop. Often, people suffer through the hardships of sexual harassment for fear that saying something might make it worse or because they think their employer might retaliate. But thanks to the law, you do not have to be a victim.
According to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, discriminating against someone due to their sex is strictly profited. The Act covers both public and private organizations that employ more than four workers. You are also protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, so you do not have to suffer in silence.
How to know if you are being sexually harassed
If you are in a work environment where someone tells one derogatory joke and you are offended, that is not considered sexual harassment. However, if you are in an environment where there is a systematic and pervasive series of behaviors that are meant to threaten or intimidate you to the extent that it is affecting your ability to perform or advance, then that is sexual harassment. If the behavior is repetitious and creating a hostile work environment, then you do have the right to make a claim.
To prove that you are the victim of sexual harassment you will have to prove that it isn’t just you who is offended by the behavior; you must be able to show reasonableness. The legal term “reasonableness” means that you have to show that any “reasonable” person in your position would also feel intimidated and offended.
It might also be the case that sexual harassment is a single request for a sexual favor. One instance when sexual harassment can be a one-time situation is if someone who holds power and authority over your work position asks you for a sexual favor and makes it clear that if you don’t comply, your job could be in jeopardy.
In the same respect, it could be that your supervisor makes a request, and in return promises you some work advancement or perk if you acquiesce to their sexual request. “Quid pro quo” harassment, or “you do something for me and I will do something for you,” is also considered sexual harassment and is illegal.
Sexual behaviors can be varied, but examples of a sexually harassing behaviors would be an unwelcome advance, nonconsensual touching, derogatory comments or remarks based on sex, sexually explicit materials and lewd gestures or sounds.
What to do to get the harassment to stop
To make the harassment stop, the first step that you must take is to make both your employer or supervisor, as well as the harasser, know about the misconduct and demand that it cease. Your place of employment should have procedures in place to deal with sexual harassment claims, and following the protocol is imperative to getting the harassment to stop. And if it doesn’t and you need to follow a lawsuit, then you will need to show that you took all steps necessary.
It is also a good idea to hire a Pennsylvania sexual harassment lawyer to help protect you from retaliation, and to file a claim at the federal level through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Also, should your employer not address your claim, you will need the help of a Pennsylvania sexual harassment attorney to initiate a lawsuit.
Is my employer liable for damages if I am sexually harassed?
If you have made your employer and the harasser aware of the behavior and it does not stop, then yes, you can hold them liable for any damages you sustain. To prove your case in court, you will have to show that you made your employer aware of the misconduct and that they did nothing to address it, and that you suffered damages as a result.
When you sue for sexual harassment, you are entitled to compensatory and punitive damages. The only way to know for sure whether you have a claim for sexual harassment is to consult USAttorneys.com today; here you can effortlessly find an experienced Pennsylvania sexual harassment lawyer who will ensure that you get the harassment to stop so you can return to a productive and safe work environment.