philadelphia sex Discrimination law firm serving pennsylvania and new jersey
While the labor force in the United States is almost divided equally between men and women, sex discrimination complaints are still one of the most common complaints that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives. Stereotypes about each sex continue to permeate the workplace and perpetuate discrimination.
If you believe that you are dealing with employment discrimination based on sex, it is vital to contact an employment attorney who can determine your rights and remedies.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), and national origin. Title VII applies to employers who employ 15 or more employees.
Under Title VII, sex discrimination involves when an employer treats an applicant or employee differently and less favorably because of his/her sex. For example, an employer may discriminate against female employees if it promotes male employees faster or more often than its female employees.
Title VII also prohibits harassment directed at an employee because of his/her sex that creates a hostile work environment. For example, a female employee who is routinely subjected to demeaning comments and excluded from meetings may be the victim of sex harassment/discrimination. Further, an employer’s practices and policies may appear to be neutral (i.e., not overtly directed at employees of a certain national origin), but may have a disparate impact on employees of a certain national origin.
Title VII does not explicitly protect employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity; however, some federal courts have extended Title VII’s protections to these employees.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) prohibits discrimination and harassment against multiple classes of people, including discrimination based on sex. Recently, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) issued guidance, which indicates that the PHRC will expand the PHRA’s protections to individuals based on sexual orientation, transgender identity, gender transition, gender identity, and gender expression. The PHRA applies to employers who employ 4 or more employees.
Some Pennsylvania cities also provide more protections for employees. For example, Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance (PFPO) protects employees from discrimination and harassment based on their sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The PFPO applies to employers of any size.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) also prohibits discrimination and harassment against multiple classes of people, including discrimination based on sex (including pregnancy), familial status, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. The NJLAD applies to employers of any size.
I have been discriminated against. What do I do?
There are strict deadlines for filing discrimination claims that vary by the circumstances of your situation and the state in which you reside. In Pennsylvania, victims of discrimination must first file through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) and receive a “Right to Sue” letter in order to file a lawsuit in court. In New Jersey, individuals may file a lawsuit in court without first filing with an agency.
If you have been a victim of illegal discrimination in the workplace, contact employment lawyer Stephanie J. Mensing of Mensing Law LLC at (215) 586-3751. Ms. Mensing in an employment attorney with extensive experience handling discrimination cases in the agencies and state and federal courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Schedule a consultation today to ensure that your rights are protected