Those that experience sexual harassment in the workplace feel embarrassed, traumatized, shocked, and confused. They may not even realize what has happened until afterwards. At that point, they may be unsure about how to handle it. Many are afraid to report it for fear of losing their jobs.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects victims of sexual harassment, which is a form of sexual discrimination. Title VII applies to the federal government, labor organizations, employment agencies, and companies with at least 15 employees. Sexual harassment at work includes abusive behavior of a sexual nature that affects or interferes with an employee’s work or makes the workplace hostile, offensive, or intimidating.
Employees can protect themselves from harassment by arming themselves with knowledge before an incident occurs. Many companies have sexual harassment policies and employee training. Policies should be reviewed, understood, and available to employees. Knowing the proper channels to report sexual harassment is also very important, as all cases should be recounted right away.
Any behavior that seems inappropriate or makes an employee feel uncomfortable constitutes harassment. The harassment can include improper touching, comments, conduct, or sexual discussions in front of others. The abuser can also be of the same sex or a third-party vendor, like a delivery person or consultant on the premises.
There is also the issue of different company cultures; some workplaces accept behaviors that others do not. For example, the atmosphere at a casual restaurant may allow for joking around and employees touching each other in a friendly way. A hospital, on the other hand, may have a much stricter policy. All employees must understand the company policy and be free to speak out about inappropriate actions. The law does not force victims to speck up about harassment, but silence does not equal acceptance. In every case, once an instance of workplace harassment is verified, action should be terminated immediately.
The situation can be made worse if the employee is harassed further by other employees or management that know about the situation and proceed to discriminate against the employee. Employees are not responsible for keeping their workplace free from sexual abuse and harassment; this is the responsibility of management and the Human Resources Department. Management needs to clearly communicate that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in their workplace. A company may be liable for sexual harassment that is caused or seen by a company owner, employee, or manager, and/or if they were aware of it and did not act.
Many employees are afraid to go through the proper channels and end up making off-the-record passive complaints to colleagues. In these situations, management is required to investigate. Ignoring these comments could result in management lawsuits for aiding and abetting the abuser in certain states.
Chester County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Victims of Workplace Harassment
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, the Chester County sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. have represented countless victims of harassment. Our highly professional team will investigate your claims and stand by you every step of the way. Contact us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation. We are in Philadelphia, and we proudly represent clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.