The Boston Court of Appeals recently made an important statement about what constitutes sexual harassment when it reinstated a bank employee’s case that the U.S. District Court in Boston has earlier dismissed. In 2010 after transferring to a position under a Citizens Bank Vice President, a Rhode Island woman was subjected to her employer’s sexually suggestive comments. Although not directed at her, the women still felt the comments were inappropriate. After receiving a negative performance review and a subsequent termination, she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Boston.
That court dismissed the case, but it was later reinstated by the First Court of Appeals. The message in this case being that sexual harassment is not just blatant sexual propositions. Sexual harassment is determined by the context of the interaction in question. This is a crucial distinction that protects employees from being subjected to harassment at work, whether or not it is directly aimed at them.
According to the law, sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. In the case of the bank employee, she endured her boss’s inappropriate comments about other women and their physical appearance. In her opinion, her lack of reception to these comments led to her wrongful termination.
A skilled Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyer can navigate the complex sexual discrimination laws. As an employee you are not just protected from the unwelcome harassment of employers, but also co-workers of both sexes. If your employer fails to protect you from uncomfortable, sexually-charged situations, they may held be liable. The plaintiff in the New England sexual harassment case felt she was wrongfully terminated because she was not willing to engage in or be subjected to sexual conversations, and pursued the issue in court.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C Advocate for Victims of Sexual Harassment
You are not required to work in conditions that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. What should you do if you suspect you are being sexually harassed or discriminated against at the office? The most important thing to do is to record every interaction with your harasser so that you can provide documentation if you need to pursue the issue further. Firmly tell the person to stop harassing you and notify their supervisor. If the behavior continues, consider filing a complaint. Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C handle sexual harassment cases in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. You can reach us in our Philadelphia offices at 215-569-1999 or contact us online. We can schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.