A study performed by the Joint State Government Commission of Pennsylvania recently revealed that there were close to 600 sexual harassment or misconduct claims by state employees over the past five years. Few charges or referrals to law enforcement amounted from these claims, yet they cost state taxpayers almost $2 million from 2013 to 2018.
The report was released in Pennsylvania among nationwide calls for stronger protections and better reporting for sexual harassment cases. Following several sexual harassment and misconduct scandals that hit Washington D.C. last year, members of the House of Representatives requested the report in hopes to improve the handling of sexual misconduct cases. Several states followed suit; New Jersey had recently conducted a similar review and used such findings to handle sexual harassment cases to find problem areas and address them, and to better protect their victims.
Improvements for Sexual Harassment Cases
Following the release of the Pennsylvania report, the commission offered suggestions to improve sexual harassment cases, but did not set firm regulations or definitions. Some suggestions included third-party witnesses having the ability to report harassment, forbidding fraternization, and monitoring sexual harassment through social media. State agencies only had policies that protected employees from harassment from contractors and third-party workers, not internal employees.
Among the 597 total claims reported within the five-year timeframe, 130 came from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, the most out of all state departments. The Liquor Control Board had 64 complaints, tied for second among state departments within their 3,100 employees. The Department of Corrections employs around 15,000 workers.
Most of the sexual harassment claims among state departments were settled internally. In fact, only three complaints among the 597 were reported to the police. One complaint took up over $900,000, and was within the Department of Revenue, where an employee of a mid-level supervisor accused him of harassment, sexual assault, and racial slurs. The mid-level supervisor pleaded no contest to criminal charges and was put on probation.
Delaware County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Protect Victims of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment is a systemic problem that harms several work industries, including federal and state departments. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, the Delaware County sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. can help. We will fight for your rights and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 215-569-1999 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.