Q I'm the only woman working on a construction crew. Everyday I go through a different hassle I found dirt in my thermos. My tool belt disappeared. I'm told to go to the wrong work site and I'm the only one assigned the job at the end of the day to pick up trash. Someone even flattened one of the tires on my truck. How much harassment do I have to tolerate to be part of the crew?
A It is unlawful for an employer to knowingly condone gender-based harassment in the workplace. If you believe that these things are happening to you because you are a woman, and that your employer (at least a first level supervisor) knows of the harassment and is not taking reasonable steps to stop it, you may file a complaint with the PHRC. The PHRC will investigate and take the appropriate action.
Q I'm a city police officer and at work I find nude pictures taped on my locker. My supervisor constantly tells off-color jokes, pats me on the bottom and makes sexual remarks. My supervisor is a woman. Can a man be sexually harassed?
A Yes, it is unlawful under the PHRAct for either a man or a woman to be sexually harassed. You may file a complaint with the PHRC, which will investigate and take the appropriate action.
Q My supervisor and the office secretary have been in an on-going romantic relationship for several months.They are very open about their physical attraction to each other and let everyone see their personal business. I complained to the company owner, who must have said something to my supervisor. He keeps saying stuff like he `could pull the plug on me,' `watch my back' and `to sleep with one eye open.' Now he's denying me overtime, withholding my pay checks, and he's even accused me of lying about my travel expense vouchers and time sheets. I've already complained to my supervisor's boss and look where it got me. What do I do now?
A It is unlawful under the PHRAct for an employer to condone an unwelcome sexual atmosphere, such as where coworkers engage in open and notorious sexual conduct at work. It is also unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for standing up for the right to be free from unlawful discrimination. You may file a complaint with the PHRC, which will investigate and take the appropriate action.
Q I've been an assistant manager at a flower and craft store for the past six years. I've watched as men that I have trained on company policies and procedures are always promoted before me, including the latest, a guy who had been with the company for six weeks before being promoted to store manager. After I filed a grievance with the company about unequal promotional opportunities, I was offered a store manager position at a store that has a reputation for being the worst to manage. I just filed another company grievance about the pay status for store managers. All of the men who have less time with the company, yet have the same responsibilities I do, are all paid more than I am. Plus, I trained all of them. I just found out today that I'm being transferred to a different store, which is the farthest away from my house. I think I'm being retaliated against for speaking up for myself. What do I do?
A It is unlawful under the PHRAct for an employer to discriminate against you because of your sex or to retaliate against you because you asserted a right to be free from unlawful discrimination. You may file a complaint with the PHRC, which will investigate and take the appropriate action.
Q From the time I was small, I've loved cars. A few months ago, I started working at the largest car dealer in town. Since that first day, I've been subjected to inappropriate and offensive sexual remarks, materials, suggestions and touching. I'm a secretary now and do some occasional sales. I had hoped to become a salesperson. My supervisors tell me to wear low cut, short dresses to work and that my job is to `sell cars by whatever means necessary.' If asked, none of the women who work there will deny that the way to get promoted or to get more money and benefits at this dealership is to give in to the sexual demands. I just received an offer to be promoted to a full-time sales position -- my dream job -- but turned it down because of the sexual strings attached. What can I do?
A It is unlawful under the PHRAct for an employer to condone sexual harassment in the workplace, to require women to flaunt their sexuality to sell cars or to condition pay, promotions or anything else on submitting to sexual advances. You may file a complaint with the PHRC, which will investigate and take the appropriate action. The fact you turned down the promotion does not matter, if acceptance was conditioned on your providing sexual favors in return.
Q I'm the only guy that is a customer services prepresentative for a nursing organiztion. Two females within my department filed race-based discrimination complaints with your agency and they named me as a witness to the incidents that occurred. After the complaints were filed, I've been harassed by the branch manager about my breaks, my beeper calls and reported unsatisfactory field service work that I have done. A few weeks ago, a new female representative was hired by the manager. I was instructed to train her. While I was talking with the lady, I found out that she is being paid more per hour than I am to do the same job. Is this allowed?
A It is unlawful under the PHRAct for an employer to discriminate against you, in pay or other matters, because of your sex or to retaliate against you because you testified or otherwise assisted in a complaint with the PHRC. You may file a complaint with the PHRC, which will investigate and take the appropriate action.