Employees should go to work without being discriminated against or mistreated, but many employees continue to face discrimination every day. Workplace discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, disability, national origin, or sexual orientation is illegal in Pennsylvania. You may be entitled to damages if you’ve experienced unlawful workplace discrimination.
Contact a Discrimination Attorney in Pittsburgh
The employment law attorneys at Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace are committed to protecting your civil rights. If you’ve experienced discrimination in the workplace, we will fight vigorously in court for your rights and interests. You may be entitled to front pay, back pay, damages for pain and suffering, and more. Contract us to discuss your case with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
What Is Workplace Discrimination?
Employment discrimination is the practice of treating a person or group unfairly because of their membership in a legally protected group, such as race, religion, sex, or age. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act protects Pennsylvania workers from unlawful discrimination in the workplace. Additionally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination. At Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace, we represent clients in a wide range of discrimination claims, including the following:
- Pregnancy discrimination
- Religious discrimination
- National origin discrimination
- Racial discrimination
- Gender-based discrimination
- Age discrimination (over 40)
- Sexual orientation discrimination
- Wrongful termination
- Discrimination based on an employee’s conduct outside the workplace
- Discrimination based on social media posts
- Discrimination based on medical marijuana use
- Discrimination based on a disability or perceived disability
- Possession of a diploma based on passing a general education development (GED) test
- Willingness or refusal to participate in abortion or sterilization
Filing a Workplace Discrimination Lawsuit
If you’ve experienced unlawful discrimination in the workplace, there are several options for pursuing compensation. You can choose to file a claim with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) if the discrimination violates Pennsylvania law. Alternatively, you can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which is a federal agency. Needs agencies have a work-sharing agreement and they cooperate with each other to process discrimination claims. If you indicate to one of the agencies that you would like to cross-file the claim with the other agency, they will do so.
If your workplace has between 4 and 14 employers, you should file with the state of Pennsylvania. Federal anti-discrimination law applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Additionally, if your claim is specific to Pennsylvania law, such as discrimination based on possession of a GED or participation or non-participation in a abortion or sterilization, you will need to file with the state of Pennsylvania.
The Discrimination Claims Process
After you file with the EEOC, the EOC can decide to ask you and your employer to participate in a mediation program. They can also ask your employer to provide a written answer to your claims and answer questions related to your claim. Your charge will be given to an investigator. They may dismiss the claim if you didn’t file it in time or they don’t have jurisdiction. If they investigate your claim, they will interview witnesses and gather documents. If they decide no discrimination occurred, they will send you a notice of right to sue.
You will have permission to file a lawsuit against your employer. If they decide that discrimination did occur, they will try to reach a settlement between you and your employer. If your settlement can’t be reached, you will be referred to legal staff who will decide whether or not the agency should file a lawsuit against your employer. If they don’t file a lawsuit against your employer, they will give you the right to sue.
Strict Time limits for Discrimination Claims
If you have been discriminated against, it’s important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. Employment discrimination claims have strict time limits. If you plan to file your claim in Pennsylvania, you only have 180 days. In order to preserve your federal claim, you will need to file with the EEOC within 180 days from the date that the discrimination occurred. If a local or state agency enforces the law that prohibits discrimination, your deadline is 300 days.
Contacting an attorney as soon as possible will give your attorney time to prepare your claim and ensure that you don’t lose your ability to file a claim due to the strict time limits involved. A lawsuit based on a federal discrimination claim needs to be filed in court within 90 days of your notice of the right to sue. If you have a state-based claim for discrimination, you need to file your lawsuit within two years of the PHRC’s dismissal of your complaint.
Compensation Available in a Workplace Discrimination Claim
Victims of unlawful sexual harassment in the workplace are entitled to compensation. The specific type of compensation to which you may be entitled will depend on the facts of your unique case. For example, if your employer terminated your employment because of unlawful discrimination, you may be entitled to back pay for the time you were not working. If you can’t return to your current position, you may be entitled to a front pay and benefits that you missed out on because of the termination. We recommend discussing your case with an attorney so you can determine whether you are entitled to any or all of the following compensation:
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Back pay if you were not promoted, demoted, or transferred out of your position
- Front pay if you cannot return to your current position
- Punitive damages to punish your employer for willfully allowing sexual harassment
- Retroactive benefits for your loss of medical or health care coverage and other benefits
Discuss Your Discrimination Case With a Pittsburgh Attorney Today
Have you experienced a wrongful discharge, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, or any other type of workplace discrimination? You may be entitled to compensation under federal and state anti-discrimination laws. Contact Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace today to schedule your initial consultation and learn more about your legal options.