Pennsylvanian workers like you rely on your workplace to have a safe, healthy environment in order to put forth your best foot. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. In a work environment where harassment is occurring, just who can be held responsible?
Your employer can actually be held liable, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. With some exceptions, employers of supervisors who harass other employees can be held liable for this harassment. This is specific to harassment that causes a hostile work environment or negatively impacts an employee’s ability to work. Examples include failing to hire or promote someone, a loss of wages, or termination of said harassed employee.
The only time an employer cannot be held liable is if they took quick and reasonable measures to prevent and correct the harassment, and if the corrective and preventative opportunities provided by the employer were not taken advantage of.
Likewise, employers are responsible for all non-employee staff and other individuals on the premise they oversee. This includes customers in a store and independent contractors. The only time an employer cannot be held liable for harassment done by non-employees is if they did not know about the harassment that took place, or if they did know and did not act quickly enough.
Understanding when your employer can be held accountable for harassment going on in their workplace is an important step to take in protecting yourself from harassment. When an employer knows they can be held liable, they are also more likely to take steps to prevent harassment and quickly handle any incident that occurs.