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Is Off-Duty Sexual Harassment Still Illegal?

December 4th, 2023
Our Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Can Work to Protect Your Rights

Sexual harassment at work is a form of gender discrimination that includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This behavior interferes with an individual’s employment, unreasonably disrupts work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. It can also occur outside the workplace.

These actions can manifest in various forms, such as inappropriate comments about one’s physical appearance, sharing explicit content, or making sexual innuendos. Even subtle behaviors like unwarranted touching, suggestive gestures, or persistent flirting can qualify as sexual harassment.

The illegality of workplace sexual harassment is firmly entrenched in U.S. law. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, which includes sexual harassment.

In Philadelphia, these federal laws are bolstered by local ordinances that specifically outlaw sexual harassment. The Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, enforced by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, offers additional protections against workplace sexual harassment.

Retaliation related to sexual harassment is another significant issue that compounds the problem. Employees who report sexual harassment should be able to do so without fear of negative repercussions. However, retaliation can occur in many forms, including demotion, pay cuts, termination, or creating a hostile work environment.

Federal and Philadelphia laws offer robust protections for employees who face retaliation. These protections are a crucial component of creating a safe and respectful workplace.

When Work and Personal Life Intersect: Sexual Harassment Outside the Office?

Sexual harassment is not confined to the four walls of a workplace. It can occur outside the office, at social events, on business trips, or online. For instance, a manager might make unwelcome sexual advances towards a subordinate at a company party. A colleague might send inappropriate messages over social media.

These instances, while occurring outside the traditional office environment, are still considered sexual harassment because they involve work relationships and can impact the recipient’s work experience.

The law does not limit the prohibition of sexual harassment in the workplace. If a work-related relationship is exploited for sexual advances outside of work hours, it is still against the law.

Seeking Justice: Recourse for Victims of Off-Duty Sexual Harassment

People suffering workplace sexual harassment occurring in off-duty settings are not without recourse. They should document each instance, consult with an attorney, and consider reporting the harassment to their employer or relevant authorities.

Additionally, they may file a complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations or the EEOC. These agencies can investigate complaints and take legal action against employers who fail to address sexual harassment adequately.

Our Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Can Work to Protect Your Rights

Sexual harassment, whether it occurs on-duty or off-duty, is illegal and unacceptable. If you have faced off-duty workplace sexual harassment, speak with our Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm 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 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.

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