Pennsylvania employees have broader protections against sexual harassment under Pennsylvania laws than under federal law and have different deadlines that employees should be aware of to preserve their sexual harassment claims.
How are Pennsylvania sexual harassment protections different from federal protections?
- Pennsylvania law provides broader protection and remedies for sexual harassment or assault in the workplace than federal law.
- For example, while federal law prohibits sexual harassment only for employers with 15 or more employees, Pennsylvania law applies to qualifying employers with four or more employees.
- Federal law also caps an employee’s recovery of compensatory and punitive damages at $300,000. Though Pennsylvania law does not allow for punitive damages, it imposes no cap on compensatory damages for employees who prevails on their claims.
How can I report sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace in Pennsylvania?
- You have several avenues to report sexual harassment or sexual assault in Pennsylvania.
- If you have suffered workplace sexual harassed or assaulted , you can report the misconduct to your employer. Pennsylvania state law and federal law prohibit employers from retaliating against workers who file a complaint of sexual harassment.
- Beyond reporting the conduct directly to your employer, you have two options for reporting sexual harassment or assault you have faced in the workplace in Pennsylvania: you may file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
I was sexually harassed or assaulted a long time ago. Do I still have a claim in Pennsylvania?
- You might.
- Under Pennsylvania law, you have just 180 days to file a charge with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. For coverage under federal law, a charge must be filed within 300 days of the sexual harassment.
- But there are certain circumstances that can extend those deadlines. You also may have related claims under different laws. It is safest to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to learn whether you still have live claims.
Where can I get more information about workplace sexual harassment in Pennsylvania?
- The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania website provides information about workplace sexual harassment under Pennsylvania law.
If you are experiencing or have experienced sexual harassment, contact Katz Banks Kumin to speak with one of our intake attorneys to discuss your case, without charge or further obligation.