What is considered a hostile work environment in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia, PA – Both Pennsylvania state law and U.S. Federal laws cover restrictions on hostile work environments as a form of illegal sexual harassment. This is meant to protect all workers from experiencing various types of harassment and other forms of discrimination. Anyone who has had to deal with these kinds of illegal behaviors has the right to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for their losses. 

The definition of a hostile work environment

The type of detrimental conduct that affects the victim must be serious and pervasive enough to affect their ability to work and function normally on the job. Things like verbal or physical abuse can meet this standard, but isolated incidents  of this kind of conduct may not. The specific elements of the cause of action say that the conduct must be intentional, pervasive, and due to a protected characteristic such as gender or race. There is also the application of a reasonable person standard to determine whether any reasonable worker in the same situation would need to take action due to the effects of the conduct in question on their ability to work. 

As a general rule, isolated or occasional work problems may be resolved through the company’s internal processes such as the human resources department. However, regular problems involving this kind of behavior are more likely to result in legal action. This is especially true if the conduct caused a job loss, lost promotions or benefits, or an inability to function as normal at work. These kinds of tangible losses can become evidence of the pervasiveness of the behavior, as well as the plaintiff’s losses due to harassment

State law

Pennsylvania state law defines various kinds of employment discrimination through the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. In practice, the protected classes defined in this law and the protections against hostile work environments are very similar to federal law. The victim’s attorney will choose which court system is the appropriate venue, and state or federal law will apply based on the venue. 

Damages available to victims

In all civil cases, damages tend to reflect the amount and kinds of losses that the victim has had to endure. Things like lost employment and career opportunities can be quantified based on the victim’s earnings and earning potential. It is also possible that a person who needs therapy or counseling after severe cases of harassment can factor these treatment costs into damages. 

Getting in touch with a local attorney in Philadelphia

Victims of sexual harassment have the right to legal representation and they may choose to file a lawsuit against their employer. The Law Offices of Eric A. Shore focuses on all aspects of harassment cases and labor law to assist local clients. 

Firm contact info:

Law Offices of Eric A. Shore

2 Penn Center, Suite 1240 

1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19102


[email protected]


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