Sexual harassment comes in many forms, from obvious physical threats to subtler inappropriate glances or comments. In some cases, it is abundantly clear that a person’s behavior constitutes sexual harassment. Other times, the victim may be left wondering whether a co-worker crossed the line between harmless flirting and sexual harassment. Regardless, if the behavior makes you uncomfortable in any way, or creates a hostile work environment, it is likely some form of sexual harassment, and should be reported as soon as possible.
Below are examples:
- Offensive comments about another employee’s sexual orientation, sex, or gender
- Inquiring about a person’s sexual orientation or sexual history
- Sharing sexually explicit pictures or videos with other coworkers
- Unwanted sexual contact, which could include touching, rubbing, or hugging
- Telling offensive, sexually explicit jokes
- Whistling at or staring at a co-worker in a way that makes him or her uncomfortable
- Sending emails, notes, or texts that are inappropriate, or sexual in nature.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment in the workplace is considered to be a form of discrimination. Federal law recognizes two types of sexual harassment, including:
- Quid Pro Quo: When a supervisor, or someone in a position of power, threatens an employee’s job, or promises a promotion, raise or bonus in exchange for sexual favors, this type of sexual harassment is known as quid pro quo, which is Latin for “this for that.”
- Hostile Work Environment: This type of sexual harassment occurs when co-workers or supervisors make sexually degrading jokes or unwanted advances in a workplace without any repercussions, which creates an uncomfortable, hostile environment in which to work.
When an employee is the victim of sexual harassment, in addition to being protected under federal laws, there are state laws that protect victims as well. According to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees in any action that would affect employment. This includes interviews, recruiting, hiring, promotions, pay increases, or terminations. The LAD also prohibits discrimination based on sex, age, marital status, domestic partnerships, sexual orientation, or gender identity, among other characteristics.
The Emotional Impact of Sexual Harassment
Unfortunately, many victims of sexual harassment are hesitant to report the incident. Some of the most common reasons for this include:
- Fear of wrongful termination
- Feelings of helplessness and embarrassment
- Fear of not being taken seriously
- Feelings of guilt and shame, as if the victim is to blame
- Confusion over whether the victim misread the behavior
- The victim does not know what steps to take to report the incident
Chester County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Victims of Sexual Harassment
If you have been the target of sexual harassment in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, the Chester County sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. can advocate for you. We understand how traumatic this can be and we will fight hard to protect your rights and secure the financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online. We serve clients in Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and New York.