If I was recently sexual harassed by a manager in a retail chain that spanned over the course of 2 years, what are my rights?

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If I was recently sexual harassed by a manager in a retail chain that spanned over the course of 2 years, what are my rights?

It was never so bad until 3 months ago when he started asking me for sexual favors. I became fearful for my safety. I wrote a report to HR and he was terminated based on the evidence I gave and a reports from a supervisor that witnessing him harass me multiple times. In the end I was fearful of repercussions from him and left the job since I didn’t want him to know where I worked. Can I sue the company or him for emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish and lost wages?

Asked on November 26, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You most likely cannot sue your employer, since according to what you write, your employer fulfilled its legal (and moral obligations): once you reported him to HR, he was investigated and terminated. If a company takes reasonable and appropriate actions to address sexual harassment when it becomes aware of it, it is not liable; the company is not expected to be able to control all employees all the time and prevent such illegal harassment from happening in the first place, but is simply required to take appropriate action when they learn of harassment.

You may be able to sue the actual harasser, but will almost certainly not be able to recover for "inconvenience" or lost wages, since it was your decision to quit your job--that is, you choosing to quit *after* the harasser was fired is not a reasonably foreseeable outcome of harassment, and so he would not be liable for the consequences of this action which you voluntarily took. Depending the severity of the harassment and other facts specific to your case, you may be able to sue for other injuries, such as mental or emotional pain and suffering, and may wish to discuss the situation with a personal injury attorney.


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