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 anadverse action, including termination, against an employee at any time for anyreason that is not against the law or discriminatory.
An adverse employment decision that is against the law wouldbe, for example, terminating an employee in retaliation because the employeefiled an OSHA complaint.
A discriminatory reason would be one based on race, color,religion, sex, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy orage. Here is an Equal EmploymentOpportunity Commission publication explaining illegal discrimination: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/qanda.html. Here is information specific toPennsylvania: 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 lawor discriminatory.
There are exceptions to employment-at will. Those are:
1. An employment contract.
2. An employment manual that states employment isnot at will, or that certain procedures must be followed to terminate anemployee.
3. A union agreement.
4. In Pennsylvania, an employee may not beterminated for reasons in violation of Pennsylvania's public policy.
5. There may be additional exceptions that apply topublic employees, such as police officers and employees of government agencies.
A "hostile work environment" is related to the issue ofdiscrimination and retaliation. A "hostile work environment" arises when anemployee is harassed in the workplace because they are in a protected class, orin retaliation for filing a complaint. A prime example of a hostile work environmentis in the movie North Country, wherea woman working in a mine was subjected to sexual taunts and assaults becauseshe was a woman. (A "hostile workenvironment" does not happen just because a workplace is awful to work in, oran employer is unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious - the bad treatment has tohappen because of discrimination or retaliation.)
If the adverse employment action was discriminatory, here isa link to the EEOC website for more information: http://www.eeoc.gov/. Here is information on filing a complaint inPennsylvania: http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/PHRC/offices/regional_map.html
You must file acomplaint within six months of the discrimination!
If the adverse employment action might have beenretaliatory, contact the agency where the Complaint was filed and ask forassistance.
If the adverse employment action was wrongful but notdiscriminatory, a government agency cannot help, but an attorney may be able tohelp. http://www.findlaw.com/is a good resource. If the adverseemployment action violated a Union agreement, you need to work with your Unionrepresentative first.
Comment: Merely talking about sex may be grounds for being fired, but it isn't grounds for criminal charges.
Good luck with this!
Even if your HR department believes every word she said, I don't see a crime. However, you could be fired.
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