Colianni & Leonard LLC

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Sexual Harassment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Pittsburgh Sexual Harassment Lawyer

Pennsylvania Sexual Harassment Attorney

At Colianni & Leonard LLC, we realize that there is often a great deal of confusion surrounding the issue of workplace sexual harassment. Our experienced firm is committed to helping you get the answers you need to your most pressing sexual harassment questions.

Q. I am a man. Could I be a victim of sexual harassment?

A. Yes. Sexual harassment is not limited to a particular sex, gender, or sexual orientation, and men and women can be victims or perpetrators.

Q. Is asking a co-worker out sexual harassment?

A. In Pennsylvania, there is no law against asking a co-worker for a date. If the answer is "no," however, and you continue to ask or make sexual advances, such behavior could constitute sexual harassment.

Q. Can my company punish me for filing a sexual harassment complaint?

A. No. Any employer that fires, demotes, reassigns, or mistreats an employee for filing a sexual harassment claim is guilty of retaliation. Federal and state laws prohibit retaliation, and your employer could face serious consequences.

Q. Is it sexual harassment if my co-worker or manager makes a comment about my appearance?

A. A single, reasonable remark about your appearance or clothing does not necessarily rise to the level of sexual harassment. If a colleague or manager tells you they like your outfit or your hairstyle, that is not sexual harassment. If, however, the person continues to make comments about your body or your sexuality, the situation could be considered verbal sexual harassment.

Q. A co-worker has a swimsuit calendar displayed prominently in his work area. Is this sexual harassment?

A. Suggestive and sexual content is usually considered inappropriate in most workplaces, and displaying pictures or sharing content via email could create a hostile work environment. If the person takes the calendar down after being told that it was offensive, however, he is probably not engaging in sexual harassment.

Q. My supervisor told me that there was a promotion available and suggested that he could put a good word in for me if I would go out for a drink with him. He did not mention sex. Is this sexual harassment.

A. Very likely, yes. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when someone in a position of authority offers work-related benefits, such as a promotion, in exchange for sexual favors. These offers can be direct or implied. By adding the condition of a date, which implies a romantic interest, the supervisor may have crossed the line into sexual harassment.

Q. A fellow employee told everyone a funny story that included mild sexual content. Nobody was offended at the time, and we all found it to be amusing. Could this have been considered sexual harassment?

A. Possibly. All Pennsylvania workplaces have a responsibility to maintain a safe, healthy work environment for all employees. If a reasonable person overhearing the story would have found the story offensive, the story could be contributing to a hostile work environment.

Q. One of our regular customers makes sexual comments every time he sees me. Is this sexual harassment?

A. Maybe. If your employer knows about the customer's behavior but refuses to take action for fear of losing a sale, you could file a sexual harassment complaint against your employer. If the customer tries to touch you, you could also file a criminal complaint against the customer as well.

Q. Where can I get help with my sexual harassment claim?

A. If you have experienced or witnessed workplace sexual harassment, contact our office. Call 412-680-7877 for a free consultation with a knowledgeable sexual harassment attorney today at Colianni & Leonard LLC today.

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