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Federal and State Discrimination Laws Protect Employees against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

December 6th, 2012

The Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys at the employment law firm of Sidney L. Gold & Associates are staunch advocates for employees who are sexually harassed in the workplace.  Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination and under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone on the basis of their gender or sexual identity.   In addition to federal protection, state laws, such as the New Jersey Law against Discrimination, also afford protection against sexual discrimination and sexual harassment for employees in these states.  The experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at the Pennsylvania employment law office at Sidney L. Gold & Associates have helped countless victims of sexual harassment seek justice and claim the damages they are entitled to under the law.

Two Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Work Environment

The two common types of sexual harassment claims involve Quid Pro Quo and a hostile work environment that results from direct or indirect sexual harassment.  Lewd and inappropriate comments or gestures, the posting of explicit sexual materials, and verbal or physical abuse by a supervisor or colleague can create a hostile work environment that can negatively affect an employee’s job performance.  In Quid Pro Quo cases, employees can be denied continued employment, raises, or promotions for refusing to consent to the sexual advances of their supervisor or employer.  In either case, the employer can be held liable even if they were not directly involved in the illegal behavior.  If the employer had knowledge of the behavior and chose to do nothing to stop the actions, then they can be held responsible for damages.

Proving that there is a hostile work environment or Quid Pro Quo situation is not always easy, but with the help of a qualified sexual harassment attorney like those at Pennsylvania’s Sidney L. Gold & Associates employment law firm, justice can be served.  To prove that a work environment has become hostile because of sexual harassment, the plaintiff must prove to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the offensive behavior was continuous and offensive enough to affect the employee’s job performance.  In cases of Quid Pro Quo, the employee must prove that the employer or supervisor boldly or subtlety implied that promotion, continued employment, or a raise would be given in exchange for sexual acts performed by the employee.

Considerations in Sexual Harassment Claims

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the first point of contact for employees wishing to file a claim of sexual harassment.  Seeking the advice of a qualified sexual harassment attorney before putting the claim into the EEOC is imperative to a successful result.  The process of proving to the EEOC that sexual harassment has taken place is not always easy, but qualified sexual harassment attorneys like those at Sidney L. Gold & Associates can ensure that your claim is filed correctly and adheres to the required standards.  Once your claim is validated by the EEOC, your sexual harassment attorney will prepare your case for litigation, and follow through the appellate process, if necessary.

There is no standard definition for sexual harassment in the workplace, but the EEOC will use a combination of criteria to determine if an employee’s claim is valid.   The basic standards used to determine the validity of the sexual harassment claim include:

  • Whether or not the victim made the offender aware that their remarks or behavior were offensive
  • The victim reported the offensive behavior to the proper authorities within the corporation
  • The victim discussed the situation with co-workers, friends, and family
  • The injured party suffered extreme stress and emotional turmoil as a result of the continued behavior
  • The plaintiff showed a significant decline in overall job performance
  • The victim avoided the offender and did nothing to support or welcome their advances or condone their offensive behavior.

The Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers of Sidney L. Gold & Associates Serve Clients throughout the Tri-State Area

The Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys at the law firm Sidney L. Gold & Associates have offices in Center City Philadelphia.  Our attorneys have over 28 years of experience in all types of employment law, specifically in areas of discrimination and sexual harassment.  If you believe you have been a victim of sexual harassment, call our office at 215-569-1999, or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you.

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