Philadelphia Sexual Harassment law firm serving pennsylvania and new jersey
Sexual harassment is a hot topic in today’s society. It is continuously in the news, with well-known names facing the legal and societal consequences for alleged sexual harassment. Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace is still common.
If you believe that you are dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace, it is vital to contact an employment attorney who can determine your rights and remedies.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), and national origin. Title VII applies to employers who employ 15 or more employees.
Sexual harassment under Title VII involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. It also includes harassment based on the person’s sex and not just harassment of a sexual nature. For the harassment to be prohibited under Title VII, the conduct must create a hostile work environment or an adverse effect for the harassed employee. The harasser could be of either sex, a supervisor, a co-worker, or even a customer.
Title VII does not explicitly protect employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity; however, some federal courts have extended Title VII’s protections to these employees.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) prohibits harassment of multiple classes of people, including harassment based on sex. Recently, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) issued guidance, which indicates that the PHRC will expand the PHRA’s protections to individuals based on sexual orientation, transgender identity, gender transition, gender identity, and gender expression. The PHRA applies to employers who employ 4 or more employees.
Some Pennsylvania cities also provide more protections for employees. For example, Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance (PFPO) protects employees from discrimination and harassment based on their sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The PFPO applies to employers of any size.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) also prohibits harassment against multiple classes of people, including harassment based on sex (including pregnancy), familial status, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. The NJLAD applies to employers of any size.
I have been sexually harassed in the workplace. What do I do?
There are strict deadlines for filing sexual harassment claims that vary by the circumstances of your situation and the state in which you reside. In Pennsylvania, victims of sexual harassment must first file through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) and receive a “Right to Sue” letter in order to file a lawsuit in court. In New Jersey, individuals may file a lawsuit in court without first filing with an agency.
If you have been a victim of illegal sexual harassment in the workplace, contact employment lawyer Stephanie J. Mensing of Mensing Law LLC at (215) 586-3751. Ms. Mensing in an employment attorney with extensive experience handling harassment cases in the agencies and state and federal courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Schedule a consultation today to ensure that your rights are protected.