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Handling harassment from third parties

Workplace sexual harassment is against the law in Pennsylvania, but it unfortunately still occurs. Employers are required to keep their workplaces free from discrimination and harassment and protect workers who are victims of either. While most employees are aware that sexual harassment at work is illegal, they may not understand what to do when the harasser is someone who holds an important contract with the company.

Some workers are afraid to address sexual harassment when the culprit holds a major contract with their employer. They might worry that if they complain, the harasser will try to get them fired or withdraw his or her contract with the company, hurting their employer. Some people also worry that their own employers will choose the person or company holding the contract over them and fire them for complaining.

Employers must protect their workers against sexual harassment from all sources, including from co-workers, supervisors, customers and clients. When an employee is harassed, he or she should follow his or her company's procedures for filing written complaints about the harassment. The employer should inform the victim about the outcome of the investigation and any corrective steps that have been taken. The employer may notify the harassing client's company so that it can address the behavior of its own employee. If nothing is done or the employer retaliates against the worker for complaining, the employee may file a complaint against the employer.

A person who is the victim of unlawful retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment might want to consult with an employment law attorney about his or her rights. A lawyer may draft and file a formal complaint with the court if the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission gives the client permission to do so. Before a lawsuit can be filed, the client will need to file a charge with the EEOC.

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