Workplace harassment in Philadelphia occurs when an employer, CEO, supervisor or manager, or a co-worker treats an employee so unfairly because of his or her race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other protected class, it is considered severe and would drive a reasonable person to quit the company, if the opportunity was there. It is commonly considered abusive treatment, and if related to a protected class, is illegal. For over 25 years, the experienced lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped victims of workplace harassment, like you, get the compensation they deserve.
What Is Workplace Harassment in Philadelphia?
Employers are allowed, under the law, to be rude, ignorant, loud, and even abusive. However, they are not allowed to do this if it violates your rights as outlined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Workplace harassment, or a hostile work environment, is when an employer, supervisor/manager, CEO, or even fellow co-worker harasses you because you are a member of a protected class.
A protected class includes:
Workplace harassment can come in many forms. It can include issues such as mocking you, constant insulting or demeaning comments, Jokes, slurs, constant or continual name-calling, Threats to your job or your safety, pictures or comics thrown about for public display, physical assault, and more.
In Philadelphia, in order to prove workplace harassment, you must prove three things.
1. You are a member of one of the protected classes mentioned above. If you are not a member of a protected class, you may have a horrible work environment, but it not considered hostile under the law.
2. You are being treated so poorly that a reasonable person will be severely offensive. This is known as sever and perverse treatment. To be considered workplace harassment, the treatment must be more than uncomfortable. It must be so severe that it makes for a horrific work environment.
3. There must be a correlation between the treatment and being a member of a protected class. If an employer yells at you, but he or she yells at other employees of different classes in the same manner, and he does not use any stereotypes or slurs, you cannot prove that the workplace harassment is related to you being a member of the protected class.
Workplace harassment can rear its ugly head in many different ways. While it must relate to being a member of a protected class, that does not mean the harassment can not be more subtle at times. Here are some examples of workplace harassment may include:
• Your boss using racial slurs every time he talks about you to others
• Your co-worker outing your sexuality through an email sent to your company
• Your supervisor berates you by calling you a dumb chick when you are being reprimanded
• Your manager imitates your foreign accent when he has an issue with you
• Your co-worker is allowed to wear clothing with pictures of Nazi propaganda
• Emails with sexist jokes are sent around the office daily to everyone even though you have complained about it to your supervisor and HR
• When your co-worker speaks to you, he yells and then says that he knows people your age cannot hear very well
• Your boss propositions you for sexual favors in exchange for a pay raise
• Your co-worker will not stop making comments about your body, even when you have asked him to stop and reported him to HR
• Co-workers and supervisors are constantly telling jokes that make fun of different races even though you have made it clear they offend you.
• Your boss threatens you physically because he does not like that you are a gay man.
The time limit to file a lawsuit for workplace harassment depends on the claim for your harassment and how you wish to file. If you are filing a Title VII claims, you have 300 days to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will investigate the claim and determine if your case has merit as a workplace harassment lawsuit. If they find merit in your case, you will be issued a Right to Sue letter which allows you to sue in federal court.
You may choose to file in state court, in which you can use the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance. This provides a time limit of one year from the date of the last incident to file a claim.
If your claim relates to Racial discrimination, you may file a claim under 42 U.S. Code §1981 (Section 1981) within 4 years of the date of the last incident.
If you are the victim of workplace harassment, you want the courts to offer you some relief for your pain and suffering. Some of the remedies offered to victims of workplace harassment include:
• Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
• Attorney’s fees
• Removal of the person responsible for harassment
• Reviewing and revamping company harassment policy
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional distress
• Punitive damages
A lawsuit for workplace harassment in Philadelphia can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to 1 year or more to resolve, depending on the parties involved. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement before trial, your lawsuit may be settled in as little as 4 to 6 months. However, if your employer wants to go to trial and refuses to settle, preparation for trial may take 8 months to a year or more. Then, the trial may take a few days to several weeks or more before a judgment is entered.
As a victim of workplace harassment, you may be trying to decide if you want to go through with filing a lawsuit. While you are making this important decision, here are a few things you can do right not to help your case should you chose to file.
1. Contact an experienced workplace harassment attorney immediately.
2. If you are still employed with your company, do not quit until you consult a workplace harassment lawyer.
3. If your company has an HR department, file a written complaint regarding the harassment. The courts will want to see that you provided your company an opportunity to fix the problem before filing a suit.
4. If your company has a harassment policy, follow it. Once again, the courts will want to see that you attempted to give your company the opportunity to right their wrongs.
5. Gather evidence. Collect as much evidence is possible. Keep all emails, tests, and notes that relate to the harassment. Document each incident, who was involved, when and where it occurred, and any witnesses.
6. Do not waste time. You have a limited amount of time to file your claim for harassment. Do not allow that time to run out.
Contact Our Experienced Philadelphia Workplace Harassment Attorneys for a Free Consultation
While it is not against the law to be mean to your employees, it is against the law to be mean to them because they are different. No employee should be ridiculed or forced to work in an environment where they are made to feel less-than-human because of gender, race, religion, pregnancy, age, or any other protected class status. If you are the victim of workplace harassment, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (215) 391-4790 for your free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.