Sexual Harassment is Philadelphia is the unwelcome sexual advances or comments from a company CEO, supervisor, manager, fellow employee, company associate, or customer against an employee or job applicant. It can be verbal or written and direct or indirect. It can happen to a male or female and between people of the same sex or different sexes. It is a form of sex discrimination in the workplace and it is illegal. For over 25 years, the Derek Smith Law Group has helped employees and job applicants in Philadelphia get the justice they deserve as victims of sexual harassment.
Different Types of Sexual Harassment Cases We Handle:
- Hostile Work Environment
- Quid Pro Quo
- Unwelcome Request For Sex
- Sexism in the Workplace
- Sexual Bribery
- Sexual Gift-Giving at Work
- Sexual Harassment by a Supervisor
- Workplace Sexual Coercion
- Non-Employee Sexual Harassment
- Gay and Lesbian Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Harassment at Off-Site Events
- Stalking in the Workplace
- Criminal Sexual Conduct
- Sexual Joking
- Co-Worker Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Orientation Harassment
- Unwanted Physical Contact
- Same-Sex Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Harassment at Office Holiday Parties
Sexual harassment in Philadelphia is a form of sex discrimination. It occurs when an employer, supervisor, co-worker, associate, or client makes unwelcomed sexual advances or comments against an employee or job applicant. Here are some facts about sexual harassment that can help you better understand what makes you a victim of sexual harassment:
- Sexual harassment can occur between a man and a woman or people of the same sex
- Sexual harassment can occur in the workplace or outside of the workplace at a company function or event
- Sexual harassment can include verbal statements, criminal sexual actions, stalking, written communications, and unwanted sexual actions or advances
- A sexually explicit photo can be sexual harassment
- A sexually explicit joke can be sexual harassment
- Sexual harassment can occur at any time, even when there is a relationship between two people in a work environment
- Sexual harassment can come from anyone in the workplace, regardless of whether they are your boss or supervisor
- Sexual harassment can include gender-based terms that you may find offensive, such as “Honey,” “Sweetheart,” “Babe,” “Hun,” “Darling,” or any other work of a similar nature
- A comment or action can be unwelcomed even if a person consents because he or she may feel that he or she will have to “go along to get along”
Sexual harassment in the workplace is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the law, it is prohibited for a company of 15 or more employees, its supervisors, associates, co-workers, or clients to sexually harass an employee or job applicant in any way.
Pennsylvania also prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) in which companies of 4 or more employees are governed by the law. Philadelphia also prohibits employers of 4 or more employees and their supervisors, associates, and clients, from sexually harassing employees and job applicants under the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance (PFPO).
There are two types of sexual harassment claims that can occur in the workplace.
- Quid Pro Quo. Quid pro quo literally means “this for that.” This means it is a favor for a favor or a favor or advantage expected in return for something. Under this type of claim, an employee or job applicant is asked to perform sexual acts or favors in exchange for positive treatment in the workplace. For instance, you may be asked for sex or a sexual act or be denied the assignment you want to work on and have prepared for. Retaliation for denying sexual advances, wherein you are wrongfully terminated or demoted, can also be a quid pro quo action.
- Hostile Work Environment. A hostile work environment is when unwanted comments or sexual conduct unreasonably interferes with the workplace and your ability to properly do your job. For instance, constant sexually explicit jokes can drastically alter your working conditions. As a result, you are now working in a hostile work environment. The person or people harassing you may be a supervisor, co-worker, someone in management, or even a client or vendor. A hostile work environment can also include:
- Sexual advances
- Inappropriate and unwelcome touching
- Emailing pornography or sexually explicit comics and jokes
- Any other unwanted sexual behavior that is not a quid pro quo action.
Workplace sexual harassment in Philadelphia is rarely just one incident, unless it is a criminal action. Therefore, you must gather evidence to show a pattern of this behavior. Keeping well documented noted will only help your case in and out of the courtroom. Make sure to document:
• Each specific incident of sexual harassment
• The people directly and indirectly involved in the incident
• All offensive conversations or remarks
• Emails or memos you have received (keep a separate folder with this information and save everything in writing)
• Complaints you made, when, to whom, what you said
• The response to your complaint
• Any reactions to the alleged sexual harassment
• How the incident made you feel
• How the incident affected work performance
• How the incident affected your general well-being
Sexual harassment in the Philadelphia workplace can come out in many different ways. The most important thing to remember is that any and all sexual advances, comments, or contact that is unwanted, at any time, is sexual harassment and is illegal. Some examples include:
- Unwelcomed physical contact, including massaging shoulders, intentionally rubbing against another employee, slapping someone’s buttocks or touching someone’s hair
- Displaying or emailing pornographic videos or images among co-workers
- Asking for sex or sexual favors in exchange for employment advancement or benefits
- Gay or Lesbian sexual harassment
- Sending unwanted messages of a sexual nature (e.g. emails, chats, inter-office letters or notes)
- Sexism in the workplace
- Continuing to ask for a date after you have been told NO
- Making inappropriate sexual jokes
- Making inappropriate sexual gestures or comments which bring attention to a person’s body
- Same Sex harassment
- Offering sexual gifts or favors
- Demanding physical contact such as a hug, kiss, massage, etc.
- Attempting to perform gay or lesbian sex acts with an employee or co-worker
- Retaliation against someone for denying sexual advances
- Being harassed because of your sexual orientation
- Criminal sexual acts, such as rape
- Unwelcomed requests for sex
- Spreading sexual lies or rumors about a person that denied sexual advances
- Asking sexual questions about another employee’s or job applicant’s sexual history or sexual orientation.
- Sexual Coercion
- Sexual bribery
Title VII is governed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC gives a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace in Philadelphia 300 days from the date of the last incident of harassment to file his or her claim. Once the EEOC receives the claim, they will conduct an investigation and issue a Right to Sue letter if you have a claim under Title VII.
The Pennsylvania Commission of Human Rights (PA CHR) governs the Pennsylvania the events that occur under the PAHRA. The commission provides victims of sexual harassment in the workplace in Pennsylvania 180 days to file a claim. Once the claim is filed, the investigation begins and a Right to Sue letter will be issued to allow the case to be filed in court.
Finally, the Philadelphia Commission of Human Rights governs the PFPO. The time limit set by the PHPO to file a claim with the Philadelphia Commission of Human Rights is 300 days from the last incident.
A victim of sexual harassment in Philadelphia has every right to want justice for his or her suffering. When you decide to file a lawsuit to obtain justice, it is only natural to wonder what type of relief is available through the courts for sexual harassment. The remedies for sexual harassment in Philadelphia can include the following:
• Reinstatement of your position
• Back pay for lost wages
• Future pay
• Reimbursement of benefit premiums
• Reimbursement for medical expenses and other related expenses
• Attorney’s fees
• Reassignment or termination of the person or people harassing you
• Pain and Suffering
• Damages for emotional distress
• Punitive damages. These are the awards meant to “punish” the employer for this behavior. Punitive damages are calculated, in part, by the gross profits of the company, the nature and details of the harassment, and whether this type of behavior has occurred in the past.
A sexual harassment lawsuit in Philadelphia will last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to one to 2 years. There are several issues that can affect the length of time the lawsuit will last. If the employer is looking to settle the case as quickly as possible to avoid publicity our to avoid going to court for any reason, then the case may only take a few months. However, the employer must be willing to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement that you are willing to accept for your ordeal.
Some employers, however, are willing to take sexual harassment cases to court. If this occurs, it can take a few months to a year just to finish the procedures that allow us to enter a courtroom, such as questions, answers, and discovery. Once we start the trial, the case may take another few days to a few weeks until the court is ready to make a decision and all arguments have been heard.
If you are the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you should be proactive and prepare for your case before you file your claim.
• If you have not been fired or have not quit your job, don’t. Leaving your job can hurt your case.
• If your company has an HR department file a complaint immediately.
• If your company has policies and procedures regarding how to handle sexual harassment, follow them. While it may not make your situation any better, it will help your case.
• Gather evidence. This includes documenting every incident of sexual harassment, where and when it occurred, who was involved, and whether there are any witnesses (include the witnesses’ names and contact info if you have it).
• Contact an experienced Philadelphia Sexual Harassment attorney
No one deserves to be harassed and tormented at work by sexual harassment. It is illegal, immoral, and damaging, If you are the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace in Philadelphia, Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (215) 391-4790 for a free consultation. We do not get paid until you win your case.