What constitutes workplace harassment in Pennsylvania?

man laughing at sad coworker

Work is a place where people should go to earn a living. However, when others make this impossible because they subject you to harassment, bullying, and abuse, it can make you anxious to go to work. No one should live this way. As such, it’s essential to recognize the signs of workplace harassment and how to proceed if you are a victim. In the following blog, you’ll discover the signs of this abuse and learn how a Pennsylvania employee rights lawyer can help if you are being humiliated and belittled in your place of work. Keep reading to familiarize yourself with these signs so you can protect yourself.

How do I know if I’m facing workplace harassment?

Generally, any time you face hostile, discriminatory, or belittling actions or words from coworkers or management that inhibit your ability to effectively do your job, you are likely to experience workplace harassment. These behaviors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Unwanted sexual comments or behaviors
  • Jokes, whether innocent or malicious, about another person’s status as a protected class (race, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, etc.)
  • Teasing or mean comments about someone else’s appearance or personality
  • Threats and offensive or dangerous pranks
  • Constant unwarranted disciplinary actions
  • Repeated threats of firing, demoting, or relocation

However, it’s also important to understand that a boss yelling at an employee after they make an error is not technically harassment. However, if they are yelled at daily for things they have no control over, this could constitute a hostile work environment. Additionally, not all hostile environments are illegal, but most are, as they include some form of discrimination against a protected class. Similarly, if the harassment is severe or negatively impacts your ability to do your job effectively, it can be deemed illegal.

What should I do if I’m a victim?

If you are the victim of workplace harassment, it can feel like you have nowhere to turn. Your options are either to quit and lose your livelihood or to continue living every day in fear. However, you can pursue justice. Not only can you take legal action, but you can also file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, which investigates discrimination and harassment based on someone’s status in a protected class.

Those who are not members of a protected class can still pursue legal action with the assistance of an experienced employee rights attorney. No one should fear going to work every day because of the actions of others in their company. That’s why the team at Friedman Schuman is ready to assist you and determine whether or not the actions you’re enduring are a violation of the law. We understand how frustrating it can be to experience abuse when trying to earn a living. That’s why we’re ready to help. Contact our dedicated legal team today to discuss the details of your case.

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