Philadelphia Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination. When a person is harassed on the job, her or his ability to work has been compromised due to her or his sex; this is a violation of both federal law, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, whether it be unwelcome advances, demands of sexual favors, inappropriate physical contact or crude jokes, comments, gestures or pictures, or if you have suffered a form of retaliation for lodging any type of complaint, you may have the right to be compensated. You can recover for lost pay, lost benefits, the anguish and humiliation you suffered, as well as punitive damages.
Sexual Harassment Lawyers Serving Clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York
At Console Mattiacci Law, LLC, we represent workers who have claims against their employers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York because they have been subjected to sexual harassment. If your workplace has become a hostile environment due to unwelcome comments, advances or other acts, we can help you recover for your damages. You may also recover if you’ve been retaliated against for taking any sort of action to stop the harassment.
Our attorneys have also built a strong reputation in the Philadelphia area and beyond for our dedication to our clients and our skill in representing them. Contact a Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyer at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC by calling 215-545-7676 today.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Both the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, in Title VII (42 U.S.C. 2000e-2), the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (43 Penn. Stat. §§ 951-963), and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ban discrimination by an employer on the basis of sex. Since sexual harassment is ultimately based on the victim’s sex, it can be a form of discrimination.
Sexual harassment can be:
- Advances of a sexual nature that are unwelcome;
- Demands of sexual favors in exchange for advancement, an employee keeping his or her job or other expectations (often called “quid pro quo” harassment);
- Comments of a sexual, lewd or offensive nature about you or about a co-worker;
- Comments about the physical appearance — whether positive or negative — of you or a co-worker, including suggestions that you should dress in a way more appealing to the person making the comment;
- Comments about men or women as a sex that are crude, demeaning or offensive;
- Unnecessary and inappropriate touching or physical contact;
- Sexual assault;
- “Jokes” or comments that are sexual in nature;
- Sexually explicit photos, drawings or posters made viewable in the workplace;
- Sexually explicit texts or emails; or
- Any other action that creates a hostile work environment based on the complainant’s sex.
According to guidelines published by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, these actions become sexual harassment when submitting to these actions is made to be a term or condition of employment, either explicit or implicit, when submitting to them is a basis for advancement, when the conduct unreasonably interferes with the victim’s work performance or when it creates a hostile or intimidating work environment.
There are no gender lines for who can harass whom, meaning men who harass women, women who harass men, men who harass men and women who harass women may all be held accountable under the law.
Who is Responsible for Sexual Harassment?
Clearly, if an employer or a supervisor is the person taking the action that could be classified as sexual harassment, then the victim may be made to feel as though submitting to the action is a condition of employment.
However, the employer may also be responsible if he or she knew about the harassment or should have known about it and did not take necessary corrective action. For instance, if an employee makes a complaint and the employer says to “deal with it,” says the complaining employee is merely misinterpreting actions or, worse, that the employee was “asking for it,” then the employer may be held responsible.
Workers do not have to submit to harassment from supervisors, other employees, customers or clients. If an employer is made aware of an incident, the employer should take action to stop the harassment immediately.
What About Retaliation to Complaints of Harassment?
When sexual harassment occurs, it is important to take advantage of any grievance process available. If the employee complains, then the employer has no defense that they did not know of the harassment, or the harassing employee cannot say he or she did not know his or her advances were unwelcome or that his or her comments were offensive.
When an employee makes a complaint, any negative actions against him or her is not permitted. This includes but is not limited to: moving the complaining employee to another division or office location against his or her will; excluding the complaining employee from certain opportunities; or terminating the complaining employee.
Any negative action against the employee made because she or he complained of sexual harassment is against the law. A person may have a claim for retaliation due to complaining about sexual harassment even if she or he did not have an actionable claim for the sexual harassment itself.
What Kind of Damages are Available for Sexual Harassment?
The types of monetary damages, or what a victim can recover for a sexual harassment lawsuit, depend on the specific circumstances. Many different types are possible, and how the victim suffered as a result makes a difference.
In many cases, compensatory damages are available. These are meant to compensate the victim for his or her losses. Noneconomic damages, like mental anguish, humiliation and emotional distress, fit in this category. If you suffered economic damages, like lost pay from missing work or if you lost your job because of retaliation.
In some cases, punitive damages might be available. Punitive damages exist to punish people for reckless disregard of another person’s rights, or conduct that was malicious, willful or oppressive.
Other forms of relief may also be available. Your lawyer can help you determine kind of recovery you can seek.
Console Mattiacci Law, LLC ǀ Philadelphia and New Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyers
You deserve to be compensated if you have been the victim of sexual harassment at the workplace. Speak to our dedicated, experienced attorneys at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC about what kind of claim you might have. Certain claims have strict deadlines, as little as 180 days. It is important to act quickly. Call us today at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC to set up a consultation.