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How Do I File a Complaint Against My Employer in Pennsylvania?

— June 10, 2022

If your employer doesn’t respect federal minimum wage rates, if they do not pay you overtime correctly, or if they steal from your tips, you have the right to file a complaint.

The rights of public and private employees in Pennsylvania are protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Employees have the right to a safe workplace, free from any form of discrimination. They also have the right to fair wages and various types of benefits, breaks, medical and family leave, as described by the law or agreed upon in union contracts or employee agreements. Any time your rights as an employee are violated, you have the right to file a complaint and your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you. If you have a work-related problem and don’t know how to go about it, you should consider seeing an experienced Pennsylvania employment lawyer.

How do I file a sexual harassment complaint?

The anti-discrimination laws in Pennsylvania make it illegal to treat someone unfairly based on protected characteristics, such as race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, national origin, etc.

Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex-based disxrimination. The same applies to treating an employee unfairly because they are pregnant or have recently given birth.

Sexual harassment is of two types – quid pro cases, when you are harassed by a supervisor or manager, and hostile work environment when you are mistreated by your coworkers. Such cases can cause a lot of emotional suffering and you shouldn’t put up with it. All you have to do is contact a sexual harassment attorney to understand what are the steps to follow.

Under Pennsylvania law, you are required to first file an internal complaint with the HR or to speak to your employer. Make sure to complain in writing, as this could later be used as evidence that you tried to address the situation in a reasonable, lawful way.

Your employer must investigate your complaint and inform you of their decision. If they don’t take any measures to remedy the situation, you can take your complaint higher up.

A seasoned employment lawyer in Philadelphia can help you file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. Either agency can investigate your complaint and if they find your concerns legitimate they will propose to mediate between you and your employer.

You will need a tough lawyer, as it is to be expected your employer will also get legal representation. Your lawyer will negotiate a settlement to cover your damages. If you can claim emotional distress damages for all you’ve been through, but you can also claim damages for lost wages if you were fired or forced to quit your job. 

Can I sue for wage-related issues?

New York Law Firm Files False Wage Claims
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Unsplash

If your employer doesn’t respect federal minimum wage rates, if they do not pay you overtime correctly, or if they steal from your tips, you have the right to file a complaint with the PA Attorney General’s office. Your lawyer can also help if you think your employer has purposefully misclassified you to avoid giving you certain benefits. For instance, if you work 32 hours a week, your employer might classify you as a part-time worker, where, in fact, the law defines this as full-time employment. You can recover damages for the benefits that were denied to you, and your employer will also have to pay stiff penalties for their wrongdoing. 

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