Bethlehem Harassment / Hostile Work Environment Lawyers

Serving the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania Area

State and federal employment anti-discrimination laws prohibit harassment, such as a hostile work environment, when the harassment occurs on the basis of an employee’s race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion or disability. Depending on the municipality where an employee works, local ordinances may prohibit harassment on the basis of an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or familial status. While claims of sex-based harassment are the most common harassment claims, employees should understand that the applicable anti-discrimination laws prohibit harassment based upon any protected trait, not just sex. Accordingly, when an employee is harassed because of his race or age or religion, he has suffered from discrimination.

There are generally considered to be two types of harassment: quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. Only sexual harassment includes quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo harassment occurs when submission to or rejection of sexual favors by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual.

The more common form of harassment is known as hostile work environment (HWE) harassment. HWE occurs where unwelcome harassment is so severe or pervasive that it affects the terms and conditions of employment, as judged by an objective, reasonable person. Whether harassing conduct will be found to be severe or pervasive depends on a number of factors, such as the frequency of the conduct, the severity of the conduct, whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, and whether it unreasonably interferes with the employee’s work performance. Thus, while a single misogynistic comment may not constitute sexual harassment, a supervisor who continuously directs misogynistic comments toward his female subordinates may be engaging in sexual harassment.

Employees need to be aware that an employer can avoid liability for HWE harassment where the employer takes reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior and/or the employee unreasonably fails to take advantage of the procedures designed to prevent or remedy incidents of harassment. Accordingly, if an employer has created procedures designed to redress harassment and the employee fails to report incidents of harassing behavior, the employee may not be able to recover any damages from the employer. Therefore, it is critical that an employee follow his or her employer’s established harassment-reporting policies when complaining about harassment in the workplace.

Harassment claims often involve complex and nuanced legal issues. If you believe you have been harassed at work on the basis of your race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or familial status, call an employment discrimination attorney at Littner, Deschler & Littner immediately to discuss your case. We can assist you in understanding your options and the strength of your case. Employees should be advised that there are strict and relatively short deadlines for filing a discrimination or harassment claim with the appropriate state or federal agency. Do not lose your right to bring a claim and get the relief you deserve. Schedule an appointment with Littner, Deschler & Littner today.