What Is Considered Harassment in Pennsylvania and How to Deal With It?

Out of approximately 70,000 charges for workplace harassment that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives each year roughly six percent comes from Pennsylvania. 

These are only the figures showing workplace-related incidents, and harassment is so much more diverse and can occur in various circumstances. 

What Constitutes Harassment in Pennsylvania?

Harassment is any unwanted action done repeatedly, with a clear intent to annoy, alarm, or frighten a specific person. There are numerous examples of harassment happening in different surroundings: workplace, public space, digital space, or at home. 


A Reddit user from Pennsylvania had first-hand experience with a harassing neighbor, and the incidents started over a parking space. The neighbor showed up at her house and yelled. He threatened the poster with police and also claimed to have a friend who will tow the poster’s car. 

Another poster had issues of a different kind. She was harassed by an ex-boyfriend. When the harasser could not get in touch with her anymore, because she blocked him everywhere, he started sending messages to her family and friends about how they should be wary of her. 

The definition of harassment vary from state to state In Pennsylvania, the following actions are considered harassment:

Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment is any unwanted conduct directed at a person because of their gender and typically involves unwanted advances and requests for sex.  It is considered a criminal offense. This type of harassment is closely related to workplace harassment. 

Stalking

Stalking is unwanted and repeated behavior directed at a particular individual. It can include following or monitoring someone without their permission, showing up at their home or place of work unannounced, and continually calling them or sending texts.

Cyber Harassment

Pennsylvania law differentiates

  1. Cyberstalking—a pattern of behavior that shows intent to alarm or frighten another person through the internet
  2. Cyber harassment—repeated actions of using vulgar or obscene language through the digital communication channels
  3. Cyber harassment of a child—behavior meant to harass, disturb, or alarm a minor via electronic communication channels or social media

Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment is any inappropriate, rude, or threatening behavior repeatedly directed at an employee.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act is a state law, which bans discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, or national origin by employers.

Harassment by a Neighbor

Harassment by a neighbor is repeated inappropriate behavior by a neighbor, which can include: making derogatory comments, repeatedly playing loud music during “quiet hours,” or any intentional acts to make someone feel uncomfortable

What Are the Grounds For Harassment Charges in PA?

Depending on the type of offensive behavior, harassment can be treated as a summary offense or a misdemeanor of the 3rd degree in Pennsylvania, 

To have a foundation for harassment charges in PA, your claim has to meet two conditions. 

  1. The first condition is to prove that something was said and that the harassing incident happened
  2. The second condition is to prove intent to harass, disturb, torment, or humiliate the victim

Gathering evidence of harassment is essential in legal battles. If you are a victim, it is in your best interest to keep detailed notes of every harassing incident.

Documenting everything also includes saving photos, videos, texts, and emails of offensive nature. You can do that through screenshots or in print, although it is probably best to do both.

What Are PA Harassment Penalties?

The penalties for both summary offenses and misdemeanors charges vary. Depending on the case, the perpetrator could:

  • Be sentenced to jail time that can range from 90 days for a summary offense to up to one year for a misdemeanor
  • Receive a monetary fine. A minimum is $300 for a summary offense, and a maximum fine can be $2,000 for a misdemeanor
  • Get a Protection from Abuse order, which has attributes of a restraining order

How to File Harassment Charges in PA With DoNotPay?

Fox details how DoNotPay makes it easier to fight companies by suing them in small claims court

DoNotPay is here to help dig your way out of the legal hole that accompanies any lawsuit. The crucial prerequisite of filing a lawsuit is having all of the paperwork in order. This also includes documented proof of the harassment. 

Use the Relationship Protection option to get rid of an aggressor or stop a stalker. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Open DoNotPay in your web browser
  2. Scroll down to the Relationship Protection option
  3. Begin chatting with our chatbot and choose Safety and Stalking
  4. Provide the chatbot with the name of the aggressor
  5. Explain the situation related to the harassment
  6. Send the cease and desist letter, generated by the app, to the person in question.

The letter is the  proof that you have tried to solve the problem peacefully and will act as evidence in court if you decide to file a lawsuit. 

Other Things You Can Do to Deal With Harassment in PA

Filing a lawsuit can be a strenuous, expensive, and time-consuming process. Here are some things you can do before you take the harasser to court. 

  1. Confront the harasser or stalker
  2. Prevent the harasser or stalker from contacting you
  3. Report the harassment

Confront the Harasser or Stalker Beforehand

Any court will investigate whether you have tried to resolve the issue before filing a lawsuit. You will also have to prove that the behavior of the person in question was unwanted and not initiated by you. If you feel comfortable confronting the harasser you could do it in person. 

If you are worried you might be in danger, sending a written statement might be a better option. A cease and desist letter can help you accomplish both of those things because it is a formal request that the recipient stops harassing you. With DoNotPay you can get a professionally written cease and desist letter in no time.

Prevent the Harasser or Stalker From Contacting You

If you are receiving harassing phone calls, countless texts, inappropriate emails, or direct messages on social media, you should consider blocking the harasser.

How you are going to do this depends on the platform the harasser is using. Some of the things you can try are:

  • Use built-in apps on your phone to block specific numbers
  • Download a third-party app to block all unwanted calls or texts
  • Contact your service provider and check call blocking options they offer
  • Block the harasser on social media

In cases of online harassment, DoNotPay can contact the online platforms that the harasser is using, and request an investigation. We can demand that the perpetrator’s accounts get blocked, so they can’t contact you anymore.

Report the Harassment

If you are being stalked online or via phone calls, you can report unwanted behavior to the social media platform or the phone company. Tech companies usually have anti-harassment policies that do not allow users to misuse their platforms. If they find that someone is disrespecting that policy, the company can suspend their account. 

If you are harassed in your place of work, you should consider one of the following options:

  • Report the stalking internally. You can do this by following company harassment guidelines (if they exist), or by going directly to your supervisor or HR department
  • File an Administrative Charge With The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If they conclude the investigation in your favor, you can get a right to sue letter or even compensation
  • File a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC), but be aware of the time restrictions on filing harassment complaints. Usually, you only have 180 days from the harassing incident to file a complaint with the PHRC

DoNotPay Will Help You Manage Other Administrative Issues You Encounter in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh parking tickets giving you headaches? Don’t want to pay for expensive Philly parking? Or maybe you need help paying electric bills in Pennsylvania

DoNotPay has got you covered!

You can access DoNotPay from the web browser and use it to deal with any of the following: