I was fired for sexual harassment and need some answers to my questions please.

I was recently fired due to a sexual harassment claim by a coworker. The reason I was fired was because my coworker and I were texting inappropriate messages to each other. My question pertains to the fact that my coworker was willfully participating in these texts messages and did not complain about them at the time. She asked me inappropriate questions as I did her. When I was interviewed by my supervisors, I cooperated with what was asked of me and was honest. I admitted to texting my coworker but made it clear that she was a willingly participant and that the conversations were consensual. I was suspended on thursday and notified on Friday that I was terminated. My coworker was not terminated. Is she not as culpable as I am in this situation, and therefore subject to similiar consequences? Also, this matter was not brought out directly, and my supervisors became privy to this matter only through a subsequent, non related investigation. This coworker had also referred to me as a "mexican" repeatedly at work, although I am of asian descent. We were friends, but is this not considered harassment as well? My supervisors had heard her address me as a "mexican" and did nothing to ensure that this would not happen again. This coworker also had made comments about me being a "sexy mexican" and that I looked "hot" on several occasions. Is this not considered harassment as well? There was myself and another male at my previous employer and the rest were females. I feel that I have subjugated to a "witch hunt" and that this being a sexual harassment case, that I ,as the male, was singled out. I am curious to what rights, if any, I have in this case because I have lost my health benefits and now my eligibility for unemployment compensation is in limbo due to the reasons for my termination. I appreciate any help you can give me regarding my questions. Thank you.

1 answer  |  asked Nov 26, 2011 5:41 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, you have two issues; one is the termination and one is the working environment.

If you, as an asian male, were terminated for reasons that would not lead to the termination of a caucasian or a female, then you may have a claim of discrimination. The facts regarding the texting and circumstances surrounding your relationship with the recipient would all be relevant, as well as the explanation of the employer as to why they elected to terminate you and not her.

It seems from your question that you were subjected to a racist, and possibly sexually harassing, work environment. If the sexual comments were unwelcome, then you may have a claim for sexual harassment. However, both claims would likely need to have been reported internally first. If the employer did not have a policy against discrimination and harassment and a complaint procedure, then no complaint would have been necessary. Furthermore, if the employer was aware of the behavior, a complaint may not have been necessary.

What happened to you appears very unfair; whether it was illegal as well depends on facts that we'd need to discuss.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
The Ezold Law Firm, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Dec 21, 2011 2:07 PM [EST]

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