Pennsylvania Sexual Harassment laws & HR compliance analysis

Pennsylvania Sexual Harassment: What you need to know

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate against applicants, employees, or independent contractors on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment (PA Stat. Tit. 43 Sec. 951 et seq.). The Act covers all public employers and private employers with four or more employees.
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Public agencies. Under an Executive Order, state agencies in Pennsylvania are prohibited from employment discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression (EO 2016-04 (4/7/16)). Harassment based on any of the listed factors is prohibited.
State contractors and grantees. Employers that are awarded state contracts or grants are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression (EO 2016-05 (4/7/16)). Covered contractors and grantees must have a written sexual harassment policy and make their employees aware of the policy.
Guidelines issued by the state Human Relations Commission define "sexual harassment" as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
• Submission to the conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment;
• Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or
• The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Forms of sexual harassment include:
• Physical, including unwelcome touching, patting, or gesturing
• Verbal, including ...

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