Workplace Harassment

Project Description

Workplace Harassment Lawyers

Workplace harassment is the threatening or belittling behavior towards an individual or a group of individuals in the workplace. It is illegal. The form it takes doesn’t matter so much that it is happening. Generally, the two main forms of workplace harassment include quid pro quo or different treatment.

Also, a common misconception is that workplace harassment only refers to sexual harassment; however, this is not the case. Workplace harassment includes any harassment that uses emotional or physical actions to manipulate another person or make them feel inferior.

Workplace harassment is emotional or physical abuse of another person. If you feel that you’ve experienced harassment in your workplace, call us so we can help you figure out a plan of action.

Call Pittsburgh at
(412) 626-5626
Call Philadelphia at
(215) 618-9185
Email KM&A at

Harassment is uncomfortable in all stages, but it becomes illegal when discriminatory action is involved, based on race, religionsex, national origin, age, genetic information, or disability. Of course, the law does not prohibit offhand comments or teasing. Regardless, the law does protect against harassment that creates a hostile work environment or results in hiring, firing, promoting, or demotion.

What Forms Does Harassment Take?

Harassment can be hard to recognize, especially as work environments merge into a more casual working space. The forward movement of technology has also made it more difficult to recognize harassment. Boundaries are not as clear. Yet, employers must remember that retaliation for a harassment complaint is illegal.

Harassment comes in many forms, but we list a few here.

Quid Pro Quo:

A this-for-that bargain that often refers to a supervisor leveraging their position of power to force an employee to agree to a sexual favor, whether the employee is threatened with job loss or cajoled with a promotion promise. Another example would be disciplining or firing an employee when he or she ends a romantic affair or altering specific work standards when an employee refuses a date.

Hostile environment:

A hostile environment develops when an employee is made to feel inferior due to their sex or experience verbal comments that belittle them. If the employee experiences a decrease in productivity in response to severe actions from his or her colleague, this can be a sign that a hostile environment is in play.


Words are powerful. Naturally, the verbal power of words can be workplace harassment. And there are some areas where conversation should never stray.

  • Sexual jokes or inappropriate jibes
  • Commentary on a person’s body or sex life
  • Demeaning comments


Another over-looked form of harassment are the non-verbal cues that mess with an employee’s sense of dignity and self-respect. Domineering body language and suggestive posters can be cues to a hostile work environment. Here are a few examples.

  • Rude gesturing or extended staring
  • Flaunting sexually suggestive materials
  • Giving sexually suggestive gifts


Harassment becomes abuse when physical violence is involved. Notably, physical harassment is defined by smaller yet just as disrespectful actions. Any one of the items below is considered harassment.

  • Blocking a person’s movement
  • Excessive touching (hugs, kissing, patting, etc)
  • Brushing against a person’s body

People Who Participate In Harassment

Unfortunately, anyone can initiate workplace harassment. It can be a peer, a boss, a client, or a third-party contractor, but surprisingly, workplace harassment is not confined to opposite gender harassment. No stereotype fits the workplace harasser.

However, a power disparity often amplifies the possibility for harassment. Simply put, supervisors and managers may be in danger of leveraging their authority and participating workplace harassment. Although not always the case, the power factor sometimes is the leading denominator.

Anyone can participate in workplace harassment, but on that same coin, anyone can speak up against workplace harassment.

Workplace Harassment Consequences

Clearly, the consequences of workplace harassment influence the reputation of the workplace. Not to mention that a validated claim of workplace harassment means dealing with the damages of a workplace harassment lawsuit. In the mean time, harassment disrupts production, hampers employee morale, and increases absenteeism and turnover.

If you have experienced workplace harassment, contact a lawyer who will know how to navigate your situation and your rights under the law.
Don’t hesitate, talk to an attorney: (412) 626-5626 or


Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC “KM&A” is a law firm serving all of Pennsylvania with our principal offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Call KM&A in western Pennsylvania at 412-626-5626 or in eastern Pennsylvania at 215-618-9185. KM&A can be reached by email at

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