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Anne
Anne, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 2302
Experience:  Trial Lawyer, 15 Years Experience
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I just got put on suspension for possible workplace sexual

Resolved Question:

I just got put on suspension for possible workplace sexual harassment.I work in the automotive/retail Industry in which it is 98% males..and men all make jokes and lude conduct to each other..and I felt as though I hade to be a part of it in order to be accepted and to keep my job.So it started when co workers didn't like the fact that I did my job and played by the rules and as it turns out came up with the idea of making claims about me sexually harassing a female coworker by saying the I asked her for oral sex and I had told everyone that I wanted it from her,all of which isn't true.Well HR interviewed thea few people (the ones that hate me)and all there stories matched.So after my interview with HR they decided to put me on suspension pending termination after the investigation,when they said they will interview more people and come up with a decision.Well as it turns out all I know as of now is that they interviewed only one more person..the female co worker (who by the way hates my guts as well).Now I get a call about meeting with them tomarrow about the conclusion of the investigation.Well my question is if I get terminated will I get arrested and face charges and if so what are my possible results of me getting arrested and facing charges (jail,fines,etc).if show what are my legal options in Chester county,Pennsylvania
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Anne replied 3 years ago.

Good Evening -

This is probably going to come as a surprise to you, but if you did not do what your co-workers are alleging, what you have described is sexual harassment - but you are the victim.

Here's a discussion of Pennsylvania law that may help you explore your options:


Pennsylvania is an employment-at-will state. That means that any employer can take an
adverse action, including termination, against an employee at any time for any
reason that is not against the law or discriminatory.



An adverse employment decision that is against the law would
be, for example, terminating an employee in retaliation because the employee
filed an OSHA complaint.





A discriminatory reason would be one based on race, color,
religion, sex, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy or
age. Here is an Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission publication explaining illegal discrimination: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/qanda.html. Here is information specific to
Pennsylvania: http://www.phrc.state.pa.us/





An employer does not have to treat all employees the same,
as long as the reason for treating employees differently is not against the law
or discriminatory.





There are exceptions to employment-at will. Those are:





1.
An employment contract.





2.
An employment manual that states employment is
not at will, or that certain procedures must be followed to terminate an
employee.





3.
A union agreement.





4.
In Pennsylvania, an employee may not be
terminated for reasons in violation of Pennsylvania's public policy.





5.
There may be additional exceptions that apply to
public employees, such as police officers and employees of government agencies.





A "hostile work environment" is related to the issue of
discrimination and retaliation. A "hostile work environment" arises when an
employee is harassed in the workplace because they are in a protected class, or
in retaliation for filing a complaint.
A prime example of a hostile work environment
is in the movie North Country, where
a woman working in a mine was subjected to sexual taunts and assaults because
she was a woman. (A "hostile work
environment" does not happen just because a workplace is awful to work in, or
an employer is unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious - the bad treatment has to
happen because of discrimination or retaliation.)





If the adverse employment action was discriminatory, here is
a link to the EEOC website for more information: http://www.eeoc.gov/. Here is information on filing a complaint in
Pennsylvania: http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/PHRC/offices/regional_map.html



You must file a
complaint within six months of the discrimination!





If the adverse employment action might have been
retaliatory, contact the agency where the Complaint was filed and ask for
assistance.





If the adverse employment action was wrongful but not
discriminatory, a government agency cannot help, but an attorney may be able to
help. http://www.findlaw.com/
is a good resource. If the adverse
employment action violated a Union agreement, you need to work with your Union
representative first.

*****

Comment: Merely talking about sex may be grounds for being fired, but it isn't grounds for criminal charges.

Good luck with this!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Even "if" in HR's interview with her said agreed and said that I have said those things and they believe her.What will happen to me ( do you think they will ask her if she wants to press charges or do you think the employer will on her behalf) and if so what is the least and worst case scenario's.
Expert:  Anne replied 3 years ago.

Good Evening -

Even if your HR department believes every word she said, I don't see a crime. However, you could be fired.

Anne, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 2302
Experience: Trial Lawyer, 15 Years Experience
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