What Types of Harassment Can Employers Be Sued For?
Philadelphia employment law lawyers provide assistance with legal issues related to harassing behavior. Employment law lawyers can help companies to establish policies prohibiting harassment and protocols responding to harassment so they can reduce the chance that a lawsuit will happen. Attorneys also provide assistance to employees who have been victimized by harassing behavior and who wish to pursue a claim against an employer who is held liable for the unlawful workplace actions.
Curley & Rothman, LLC knows state and federal laws on harassment and has helped many employers and employees to know what their rights and obligations are. Give us a call to find out how Philadelphia employment law lawyers can assist you. One of the most important ways that an attorney can help is to provide you with information on exactly what constitutes harassing behavior and on what different kinds of harassment employers could be responsible for.
What Kinds of Harassment is an Employer Responsible For?
An employer is legally liable for unlawful harassing behavior under several different circumstances. For example, two kinds of harassment that could result in a claim being made against an employer include:
- Quid pro quo harassment: According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, this type of harassment includes situations where submitting to unwelcome sexual advances or sexual favors “is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment” or is “used as the basis for employment decisions.” For example, if a person is told he will only be promoted if he goes on a date with the boss, this would be an example of quid pro quo harassment. Employers are responsible for this type of harassing behavior.
- Hostile work environment: This type of harassment occurs when working conditions are made uncomfortable on the basis of sex, gender, or other protected status. If a racial minority is constantly forced to work in an environment where racial epithets are used or where racist jokes are made, this would be an example of hostile work environment harassment. An employer can be held responsible if an employee reported the harassment and the employer did nothing, or if an employer failed to provide a reasonable way for a harassed employee to pursue some type of remedy.
There may also be other circumstances in which an employer is held accountable for damaging behavior in the workplace that affects the rights of employees. It is best for companies to talk with an experienced attorney about creating a company handbook, setting company policies, establishing reporting protocol, and instituting training to reduce the chances that an employee will be able to successfully sue for harassment.
Harassment can sometimes be difficult to prove, so victims should also pursue appropriate legal help so Philadelphia employment law lawyers can provide assistance with proving that the unlawful harassing behavior happened and caused harm.
What Happens When Harassment Occurs?
If unlawful harassment occurs in the workplace, the victim of the harassment can make a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which can conduct an investigation and which can take action against companies who are responsible for harassing behavior.
Harassment victims can also file a lawsuit in state court or, in some cases, in federal court. If the victim can prove the harassment occurred and was a violation of anti-discrimination laws, the victim should be compensated for actual financial loss, such as income lost due to missed promotions or due to being forced to quit a job due to the harassing behavior. The victim may also be entitled to other compensation, including compensation for emotional distress resulting from the harassing behavior.
There have been circumstances in which groups of employees were all harassed and pursued class action litigation for damages. This is permitted under certain circumstances and the class of employees could be compensated by the employer.
Getting Help from Philadelphia Employment Law Lawyers
Curley & Rothman, LLC can represent you if you have been victimized by any kind of harassment in the workplace. Our legal team is here to assist you with making a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and with taking appropriate legal action in civil court to hold employers accountable for damages. We also represent employers in taking steps to avoid harassment cases or to respond to accusations that harassment has occurred.
To find out more about the ways in which Philadelphia employment law lawyers can assist you with legal issues relating to harassment, give us a call at 610-834-8819 or contact us to speak with a member of our legal team.