There are many categories of workplace discrimination, and they are all defined by treating a person or persons unfairly on the basis of their religion, sex, race, age, or other protected class. Some of the most frightening of these can be gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
Clear examples of sexual harassment include inappropriate comments and unwelcome advances or touching. Victims may feel particularly vulnerable, especially if the perpetrator is physically overpowering. Yet even though harassment can be obvious, sex discrimination can be subtler.
Sex discrimination may not be recognized at first by the victim, but can include:
An employee that experiences sex discrimination should first decide if the situation qualifies as such. Those who are unsure should consult a qualified employment discrimination lawyer for advice. Once they are positive that they are being treated differently based on their sex, the issue should be addressed immediately.
Documenting the employer’s actions and behaviors is the first step. The next step would be speaking with a supervisor. If this is not an option, the evidence should be presented to the Human Resources Department.
Speaking up can be difficult, especially if the worker fears retaliation. It should not initially be done in a threatening way; the worker should ask for advice and recommendations. However, not speaking up can lead to further discrimination, or worse, and can damage the employee’s career and health.
Like other states, Pennsylvania has laws in place to protect workers. Specifically, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act protects employees from unlawful employment discrimination, including sexual harassment and discrimination. According to this law, it is illegal for a company to discriminate against an employee on the basis of sex.
Every workplace in Pennsylvania is also required to display posters describing employee rights. Every worker should take the time to read these over. In many cases, these posters outline the steps needed to make a claim.
For smaller businesses with four to 14 workers, claims should be filed via the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). If the company has 15 or more workers, claims may go through either PHRC or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
When filing with PHRC, employees have to reach out to the PHRC office that serves the county where they are employed. The EEOC handles federal employee discrimination cases; this information should also be on the employee rights poster. EEOC claims should be filed within 180 after the incident occurs. Before filing, the worker should gather as much supporting evidence as possible.
If you have experienced sex discrimination at work, you do not have to be a victim. We will help you fight for your rights with the experienced, professional legal representation of an Allegheny County employment lawyer at AlpernSchubert P.C. Call today at 412-765-1888 or complete an online form to get started. Our office is in Pittsburgh, and we represent clients in Allegheny County, Lawrence County, Washington County, and across Western Pennsylvania.
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