Sexual harassment in the workplace is an egregious offense that violates human rights and labor laws. An employer must ensure a safe, respectful, and non-hostile work environment for all employees. Failure to do so can lead to significant legal consequences.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. This law applies to private employers with over 15 employees and public entities. Under this legislation, employers are automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in an adverse employment action, such as termination or failure to promote or hire.
Beyond this, employers have a responsibility to prevent sexual harassment. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an employer is always liable for a hostile work environment created by a supervisor. An employer’s initial responsibility is to research laws that apply to the employment relationship and to learn what constitutes discrimination and harassment.
When a manager or supervisor fails to act upon a complaint of sexual harassment, it can be seen as a breach of their duty to foster a safe work environment. Here are examples of situations where a manager failed to provide proper protection:
- Negligent hiring: A company hires an individual with a known history of inappropriate behavior. Despite being aware of this history, the management failed to take necessary precautions, resulting in the employee sexually harassing a co-worker.
- Retaliation: An employee reported sexual harassment to their supervisor, but instead of taking appropriate action, the supervisor retaliated against the employee–perhaps through demotion, unfavorable shifts, or even termination.
- Inadequate employee management: A manager ignored multiple complaints about a specific employee’s inappropriate behavior, allowing the harassment to continue unabated.
Responding to Sexual Harassment at Work
If you are facing sexual harassment at work and your manager fails to protect you, there are several steps you can take:
- Document the incidents. Keep a detailed record of each incident, including the date, time, location, people involved, and any witnesses. This documentation will be crucial if you file a formal complaint or lawsuit.
- Report the harassment. If your immediate supervisor fails to take action, escalate the issue to higher management or your company’s HR department. Provide them with your documented evidence.
- Seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Consult a lawyer if your employer ignores the problem or retaliates against you for reporting it. You may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Bucks County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Can Help You if You Experienced Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment comes in many forms, and knowing your rights is essential. If you have experienced harassment at work and your employer is not acting appropriately, it may be time to turn to your legal options. Speak with one of our Bucks County sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, and Montgomery County.