• Overt Sexual Harassment
in which direct sexual demands are made directly and required to be fulfilled or complied with in exchange for employment, promotion, raises or other compensation or opportunities
• Hostile Work Environment
in which an employee (usually female) is subjected to unwelcome sexualized behavior (either verbal or physical in nature) and unwelcome sexual advances, which create an offensive or hostile environment for the employee.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as:
“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature… when… submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions… or such conduct has the purpose or effect of… creating an intimidating hostile or offensive working environment.”
Many times a supervisor or boss will engage in sexual harassment. However, sexual harassment is illegal even if the harasser is not your boss or supervisor. An employer is not permitted to allow a co-worker to create a hostile or offensive work environment which interferes with your ability to do your job. Sexual harassment does not have to be overt to be real or actionable. Some examples of more subtle forms of sexual harassment include: sexual jokes; pornographic materials; inappropriate touching even if in the form of “innocent” affection or friendliness; suggestive comments about your appearance, whistling or catcalls about one’s appearance or dress; using inappropriate terms such as honey, baby, darling, sweetheart; and inappropriate questions or references to an employee’s sex life. More obvious and overt examples include sexual gestures, sexual remarks, sexual touching, sexual overtures, grabbing, groping, unwanted sexual advances, and actual or attempted sexual assault. Any outright offers to trade favors, promotions, raises, bonuses, benefits, advancements, hiring, or threats of firing in exchange for sexual favors is also blatantly against sexual harassment laws.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE SEXUALLY HARASSED
If you are the victim of these or any other forms of sexual harassment you should report the problem to your superior, your human resources department, and your union representative (if applicable). Please read “What to do if you are sexually harassed.” You should also speak with an experienced sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible to preserve your rights as there are strict time limits for reporting discrimination violations. Claims with the Equal Opportunity Commission and Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission must be filed as soon as six months after the act of discrimination.
Experience & Expertise
If your rights have been violated by an employer or potential employer, Philadelphia sexual harassment and discrimination attorney Edith A. Pearce can help. Edith Pearce has been considered the best of the best in employment law. In 2005, Edith Pearce was named a “Super Lawyer,” designating her as one of the top 5% of Pennsylvania attorneys. In fact, in the practice area of employment litigation, only 41 attorneys received this honor, and only 12 of the 41 were women, including Edith Pearce. She has received the highest rating, “AV,” from Martindale-Hubbell. An expert in employment issues, sexual harassment and sexual discrimination, Ms. Pearce takes an aggressive approach to sexual harassment violations to get the best possible results for her clients. Up-to-the-minute knowledge of the rapidly changing interpretations of sexual harassment law is absolutely critical to your case, as is a swift investigation, early trial posturing and vigorous pursuit. Edith Pearce is a highly sought after sexual harassment and discrimination attorney who has appeared on various television programs including It’s Your Call with Lynn Doyle for her legal opinion on current employment law issues of the day including sexual harassment charges against Bill O’Reilly.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace is Illegal and Wrong
Employers who engage in or allow sexual harassment must be stopped; and employees who have been victims of discrimination should be fairly compensated.
Edith Pearce is the sexual harassment attorney to do both.
If you feel you have been sexually harassed and your rights have been violated by an employer or potential employer in Philadelphia or anywhere in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the firm will thoroughly investigate your claim and will work diligently to arrive at a timely settlement or proceed to trial to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Call today for a FREE SEXUAL HARASSMENT OR DISCRIMINATION CONSULTATION, or send us an instant e-mail.
We are dedicated to protecting your rights, putting a stop to sexual harassment and obtaining full and fair compensation for you.
If you feel you have been sexually harassed and your rights have been violated by an employer or potential employer in Philadelphia or anywhere in Pennsylvania, call today for a Free sexual harassment and discrimination consultation.