Can You Sue Your Employer for Sexual Harassment?
Yes, you can sue your employer for sexual harassment. A discrimination free workplace is something that everyone is entitled to. You have the right to file with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC"). An experienced sexual harassment lawyer can be a valuable asset in ensuring the proper steps are followed.
The EEOC investigates charges of discrimination in the workplace.
Once the investigation concludes a determination will be made whether discrimination has occurred. If discrimination has occurred, there will be an attempt to settle the charge. A discrimination attorney can help navigate the process and be there for you every step of the way. A charge must be filed within 180 days of the alleged harassment.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission enforces the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
The PHRC has the authority to handle sexual harassment in the workplace. A Charge must be filed within 180 days of the alleged harassment. A hostile work environment law firm can assist in the filing of the charges.
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Government website 81 percent of women and 20 percent of men experience sexual harassment in their workplace.
What is considered sexual harassment?
Unwelcome sexual advances
Requests for sexual favors
Verbal harassment of a sexual nature
Unwanted touching or physical contact
Offensive statements about a person's sex
A hostile work environment is created - A hostile work environment is repetitive behavior that negatively affects the work place
Discussing sexual topics
Unwanted explicit photos, emails, text messages
If you have any questions on if you think something is sexual harassment or not, always ask. Sexual harassment might not always be straight forward, and you are not alone. A friend and co-worker faced a hostile work environment. Read about her story here. You can reach out to a lawyer and have your questions answered.
Laws that protect victims of sexual harassment:
The Crime Victims' Rights Act - Informs of the rights to victims in federal criminal cases
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act - Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, handicap and disability.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act - Prohibits workplace discrimination, requires investigation of all complaints and, taking action if sexual harassment has occurred.
Chapter 62A of Title 42 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes - Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation Act - Provides victims a civil remedy that protects them from the offender regardless of criminal prosecution.
Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, Section 3104 - "The Rape Shield Law" - Limits the introduction of evidence or cross examining of the victim in regards to past sexual behavior.
Facts regarding workplace sexual harassment:
Both the harasser and the victim can be of either sex.
The harasser does not have to be of the opposite sex of the victim.
The harasser can be a supervisor, agent, co-worker, non-employee or an employee in another area.
The victim could be anyone affected by the conduct.
The conduct must be unwelcome.
It does not have to occur in the workplace
Sexual harassment is never your fault. You do not have to go through this alone. There are many services available. Let us help you navigate the process, call us at (412) 626-5626 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
: Title VII, 29 CFR Part 1601, 29 CFR Part 1604
: "Sexual Harassment", U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (https://www.eeoc.gov/sexual-harassment)
: "Reporting Workplace Sexual Harassment in Pennsylvania" Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (https://www.pa.gov/guides/reporting-workplace-sexual-harassment-in-pennsylvania/#BeInformed)
: "Data Visualizations: Sexual Harassment Charge Data" U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (https://www.eeoc.gov/statistics/data-visualizations-sexual-harassment-charge-data)