Sexual Harassment by a Coworker
Sexual harassment in the workplace can have a significant effect on an employee’s emotional and professional health. Many people believe that a sexual harassment claim involves the employee and their supervisor or employer, but sexual harassment claims can stem from coworkers that create a hostile work environment through continuous inappropriate and offensive behaviors of a sexual nature.
Any repetitive, offensive gestures, groping, touching, or jokes, and pictures of a sexual nature, or requests for dates or sexual favors, and inappropriate tags on social media sites can be considered sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a type of employment discrimination that violates the laws under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers who are aware of these behaviors and fail to take action can be held liable under these laws.
The Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. have extensive experience representing victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. The employment discrimination lawyers at the firm work diligently to protect the legal rights of their clients and ensure that their employers provide a safe, non-hostile work environment.
Types of Sexual Harassment by a Coworker
Inappropriate gestures and comments of a sexual nature by a coworker become sexual harassment when the offender is aware that they are inappropriate or offensive, yet they continue anyway. Coworkers who continually call you by endearments after you asked them to stop can be in violation of the law. Rubbing up against you in tight spots, groping, comments about specific body parts, or making sexually explicit gestures also fall into this category.
Colleagues that continually ask you for dates or sexual favors in exchange for work-related benefits, or those who post comments of a sexual nature on your social media sites can create a hostile work environment. Making lewd jokes or comments of a sexual nature about you to other colleagues is another form of sexual harassment. Frequent or inappropriate text messages and continuous comments about appearance or clothing are also actionable.
Reporting Sexual Harassment by a Coworker
The first step in dealing with a coworker who is making unwanted or offensive advances of a sexual nature is to speak to them directly, clearly stating that the behavior is inappropriate and offensive. In most cases, the coworker will respect their colleague and refrain from repeating the behavior. When this step fails to stop the harassment, it is necessary for the victim to report the actions to their immediate supervisor.
The supervisor is then responsible to address the situation and take steps to end the harassment. If this attempt fails, the victim should report the actions of both the colleague and the supervisor to the Human Resources department of their company, or to the employer. Failure to act at this stage is a clear violation of the law, and the victim can then seek the help of a qualified employment discrimination lawyer who will determine if legal action is warranted.
Many victims of sexual harassment in the workplace hesitate to report the behavior to company supervisors for fear of retaliation from the offending coworker or employer. State and federal anti-discrimination laws protect victims from retaliation. It is unlawful for an employer or colleague to seek retaliation of any kind against an employee that reports sexual harassment. Wrongful termination, failure to promote, shift changes, or demotions are all forms of retaliation.
Victims of sexual harassment should familiarize themselves with company policies relating to this type of claim. Employers are responsible for providing their employees with a safe work environment that is free from discrimination of any kind, whether it is based on race, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability, age, gender identification, or nationality. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and falls under the protection of the law.
Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Victims of Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environments
The Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates represent clients who experience discrimination of any kind in the workplace. We fight to ensure that the legal rights of our clients are protected, and we are committed to seeking justice and compensation for those who have suffered any form of discrimination.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of workplace discrimination or harassment, call us at 215-569-1999, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Center City, Philadelphia and serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.