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Philadelphia Sexual Harassment

Philadelphia Attorneys Advocating for the Interests of Pennsylvania Employees

For every 100 female residents of Philadelphia, there are about 89 males. Like most major cities in the U.S., it is also home to a significant gay and lesbian population. Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination, and it can occur between members of the opposite sex or members of the same sex. It can consist of unwelcome innuendoes, jokes, derogatory remarks, touching, groping, violence, threats, and comments that are made because of the victim's actual or perceived sex. They need not be sexual remarks or comments, although they often are. The crucial issue is whether the conduct was unwelcome and directed at the victim because of his or her actual or perceived sex/gender or sexual orientation. People who have been affected by this illegal conduct should consult the Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates.

Laws Against Sexual Harassment

Both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act (PHRA) prohibit workplace sexual harassment. There are some differences between these laws, and it is important to consult an attorney about your specific factual situation so that you can pursue remedies under the appropriate law or laws. Title VII covers workplaces in Philadelphia that have a minimum of 15 employees. However, damages are capped based on the size of the employer.

Generally, there is no recourse against a one-off teasing remark or an isolated incident that is not serious. However, a sexual harassment attorney in Philadelphia can bring a claim if it is quid pro quo sexual harassment (i.e., the boss tells you that if you don’t date him you will be fired) or if the one-off comment or action was so severe that it created a hostile work environment, or when it results in a negative employment decision, such as the demotion or firing of a victim.

Who Can be Liable for Sexual Harassment

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor or manager, a coworker, or a customer or client. Employers may be held liable for quid pro quo harassment when the harasser has supervisory authority over the employee/victim. Quid pro quo harassment occurs if a supervisor or manager conditions employment (or continued employment) on providing sexual favors or submitting to sexual conduct.

Employers can be found liable for a hostile work environment created by a supervisor or coworker if the employer knew, or should have known, about the harassment and failed to take steps to prevent or stop it. A Philadelphia sexual harassment attorney can help you investigate and gather evidence to present a claim. But note, that if an employee fails to take advantage of preventive measures offered by the employer, he or she may not be able to obtain damages from suing the employer.

If you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, you should follow your employer’s complaint procedures or policies (if any) or contact the company’s Human Resources (HR) Department. Employers cannot retaliate against employee because he or she filed a complaint of sexual harassment through an e-mail, text, company hot-line, or HR.

Damages in Sexual Harassment Claims

Damages that we may be able to help you recover include back pay, front pay, emotional distress damages, and out-of-pocket costs. Back pay includes any income or benefits that you lost as a result of being terminated or being demoted. Front pay is any wages or money that you would have earned if you had not been terminated or demoted. In some cases, you may be able to be reinstated in your job, but often the relationship between an employer and employee becomes too degraded in situations involving a hostile work environment Emotional distress after sexual harassment is also common. Distress can include psychological injuries, emotional disturbances, humiliation, and other intangible harms.

Seek Guidance from a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Philadelphia

Often, victims of sexual harassment are anxious about coming forward. If you are considering bringing a sexual harassment claim, you should consult the employment litigators at Phillips & Associates. You can call us at (215) 315-7694 or use our online form to set up a free consultation.

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