EMPLOYMENT Sexual Harassment Attorney

Advocating for Employees in Philadelphia and Mount Laurel, New Jersey

You rely on your job to support yourself and your family, but when sexual harassment creates an offensive and hostile work environment, continuing to work there can become a nightmare. The employment law team at Zeff Law Firm stand ready to help. Our employment sexual harassment lawyers in Philadelphia and Mt Laurel protect the rights and personal freedoms of our clients.

Find out how the law applies to your situation by calling 856-778-9700 for a consultation.

Why Choose Our Employment Sexual Harassment Lawyers?

Types of Sexual Harassment

The two types of sexual harassment are Quid Pro Quo and hostile work environment. Quid Pro Quo harassment occurs when an employer favors employees who give in to sexual advances and punishes those who do not. The employee unfairly treated for denying the advances would have a case for Quid Pro Quo.

When Harassment Creates a Hostile Work Environment

Sexual Harassment causing a hostile workplace comes from regular incidents of harassment toward an employee from a direct supervisor, a co-worker, another supervisor or manager within the company. Even non-employees such as clients can contribute to hostile work environments. While the law does not define every comment or isolated incident as a cause for a hostile work environment, it is illegal for an employer to make adverse decisions against a victim of harassment, such as firing or failing to promote them.

Sexual harassment at work

What are the Three Types of Sexual Harassment?

Typically, sexual harassment is broken down into three separate categories based on their differences:

  • Gender Harassment Verbal or nonverbal behaviors that seek to exclude, objectify, or convey hostility to a specific gender and its members.
  • Unwanted Sexual Attention Sexual advances in verbal or physical form toward someone, including sexual assault.
  • Sexual Coercion When individuals are coerced into sexual activity with the promise of favorable treatment from the abuser, or to prevent negative consequences from happening to the victim’s job status.

It is important to note that sexual harassment, in any form, can either be directly targeted at their victims or simply exist ambiently in the workplace and the workplace culture. Rest assured, the sexual harassment lawyers at Zeff Law Firm can represent you in any type of sexual harassment case.

What Constitutes Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment?

The phrase ‘quid pro quo’ essentially means “this for that,” which is the main idea behind this form of sexual harassment. Typically, these situations usually involve a supervisor or employer that has some form of power or control over the employee’s job or workplace experience, but sometimes can involve colleagues. With this form of sexual harassment, the abuser uses their higher position to gain sexual favors from their employees in exchange for some benefit or perk. The abuser could also threaten the individual’s job security but offer sexual contact to ‘protect’ the victim from facing negative repercussions at their job. An abuser could potentially offer any number of rewards for the victim’s compliance with their demands, whether that be access to more clients, better working hours, raises, or additional benefits. The key element is that the abuser is using their position of authority to coerce a victim into providing them with sexual contact. Contact the sexual harassment lawyers at Zeff Law Firm to discuss the evidence in your sexual harassment case.

How can you Identify Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is very broad and encompasses a wide variety of inappropriate and unwanted actions or behaviors. It can include any act or speech directed toward an individual with an unwanted sexual context or tone. All genders can be victims of sexual harassment, and it can come from any number of people. These harassing behaviors are illegal in the workplace under federal law:

  • Unwelcome contact or sexual contact at work
  • Sexual propositioning within the workplace
  • Using profanity, insults, and nicknames to inappropriately refer to someone or their body
  • Suggestive gestures and movements
  • Displaying sexual content or pornography at work
  • Coercion in the workplace for sexual acts

If you have questions about your experiences and whether or not they constitute sexual harassment, contact the sexual harassment attorneys at Zeff Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your case.

Is it Difficult to Prove Sexual Harassment?

This can depend a lot on the circumstances of the sexual harassment claim. In some cases, the victim does not have adequate proof of harassment occurring, and did not properly document the instances or their efforts to discuss the problem with their employer. When this happens, it becomes a situation of one person’s word versus another’s, and it can be easy for the abuser to deny the allegations against them. However in other instances, the victim has proper and consistent documentation about instances of harassment, or has documented the instances of sexual harassment with their employer. Having this type of documentation leaves you with a paper trail that can be easily traced by investigators and clearly shows instances of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment rarely happens only in a single occurrence, so having documentation to show a clear pattern of harassing behavior can be extremely helpful in building your case. The sexual harassment attorneys at Zeff Law Firm can advise you about the evidence to provide to support your case.

What Evidence do you Need to Prove Sexual Harassment?

Below are some other forms of evidence to gather if you feel you are the victim of sexual harassment:

  • Documentation of each incident
  • The comments or behaviors that illustrate sexual harassment
  • The harasser’s names and any witnesses
  • If you made complaints, details as to whom and their response, and whether action was taken
  • Any documentation (emails, policies, etc.) that you have received
  • Your reactions to the incident and your feelings afterwards
  • Any changes in your well being or ability to perform at work

Contact the sexual harassment lawyers at Zeff Law Firm to discuss the strength of the evidence in your case.

What is the First Step you Should Take If You are the Target of Sexual Harassment?

The first and best step that someone should take if they feel they are being sexually harassed is to alert the harasser that their behavior is unwanted, and you would like them to stop. The victim should document the details of the confrontation, as well as the time and date for future reference. If the behavior continues, continue to document each individual incident. Some victims may struggle with this, especially if the abuser is in a position of authority over the victim. The sexual harassment attorneys at Zeff Law Firm will discuss your case with sensitivity, and will represent you against your abuser.

Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim?

There are time limits in place for filing federal sexual harassment claims, as sexual harassment cases fall under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) handle these cases, and they have set a time limit of 180 days, for filing sexual harassment claims. However, if the state that the sexual harassment occurred in has separate laws protecting employees from harassment, the EEOC extends the deadline to 300 days. These time limits apply to federal claims. There are also state laws that may protect against sexual harassment, and those laws may have different time limits. Contact the sexual harassment lawyers at Zeff Law Firm to find out what timeline applies to your case.

Hostile Work Environment Situations Vary and May Include:

"Sexual, racial, gender violence and other forms of discrimination and violence in a culture cannot be eliminated without changing culture."

- Charlotte Bunch

We Defend the Rights of Victims

When the purpose of the conduct is to create a hostile and offensive working environment or if the victim of the harassment is fired or not promoted as a result, the employee can take legal action. Our Mt Laurel sexual harassment attorney has more than 30 years of experience representing victims of Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment.

Have Your Rights Been Violated?

When you are ready to discuss your case with an attorney, contact us to schedule a consultation.