Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment Attorney Philadelphia

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment has been defined broadly in order to encompass the many forms harassing behavior can take. The foremost authority on sexual harassment is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC has provided the following as examples of sexual harassment:

  • Comments of an overt or covert sexual nature.
  • Quid pro quo (this for that) sexual favors.
  • Unwanted touching.
  • General comments regarding the gender of the victim.

Sexual harassment is not always in the form of direct behavior. Sexual harassment can be in the form of indirect behavior, creating what is called a “hostile work environment”. If your work environment is filled with jokes of a sexual nature, comments on someone’s sex, or you witness unwanted touching, you may have a claim of a sexual harassment/hostile work environment, even if the behavior is not directed at you.

These are only guidelines on forms sexual harassment. The EEOC and the courts have further made it clear that the behavior must be “severe and pervasive”. This is where people get frustrated over the definition of sexual harassment. The behavior must be more than a mere passing comment that is non-serious. It is often on-going, relentless behavior that affects your ability to perform your job.

The conduct must be severe or on-going to qualify. If you think you might be the victim of this kind of treatment contact us for further review.

Am I A Victim Of Sexual Harassment?

Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment. Yes, anyone. Allow us to tell you a quick story. A man working on an oil rig was the subject of cruel sexualized treatment from his co-workers for several relentless weeks. Water surrounds oil rigs. The man could not get away from the jokes, gestures, and deplorable treatment; however, his co-workers were all men. Until he decided to sue, the country thought that only women could be the victim of sexual harassment from men. This is not true. The Supreme Court has determined that anyone can be a victim.

Again, anyone can seek relief from sexual harassment in the court system. It does not matter that the treatment was from the same gender or opposite gender. Do not let this be an impediment to coming forward.

Who Is The Perpetrator Of Sexual Harassment?

You may be afraid that you cannot seek relief from your horrible treatment because your boss was not the one who harassed you. Fear not. To put it simplly – sexual harassment in the workplace is not tolerated. The net is cast broadly to account for many people.

The courts have again cast a wide net to deal with the problems of sexual harassment. Traditionally, the supervisors were the sole perpetrators of sexual harassment. While sexual harassment is often perpetrated by supervisors, others in the workplace can be guilty of sexual harassment.

Co-workers who harass you, such as the man from the oil rig, are guilty of sexual harassment. A supervisor from another department can be guilty of sexual harassment. Even customers or clients who are in frequent contact with you in the workplace can be perpetrators of sexual harassment.

Can My Boss Retaliate Against Me?

People are afraid to come out against their employers in any way for fear that they will lose their jobs or future employment opportunities. Perhaps you made a complaint at your Human Resources department. Your employer contacted your supervisor, reprimanded them, and sent them to sexual harassment training. Now, your supervisor is back and writes you up more than any other employee or moves your shift from the day to night. This is illegal.

Your employer may not retaliate against you for coming forward about the harassment. Even if your claims are unsuccessful in court or your company’s internal process, they still may not retaliate against you. Again, retaliation takes many forms. Generally, retaliation is any unfavorable employment action taken against you without justification. Examples include:

  • Changing work shifts.
  • Write ups.
  • Suspension.
  • Termination.

Contact Us Today!