What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Sexual Harassment Claims?

What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Sexual Harassment Claims

Anyone can be the victim of workplace sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that men report an average of 16.3 percent of the sexual harassment charges that the agency receives while women report an average of 83.7 percent of the claims. If you believe that you have been the victim of sexual harassment at your job in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you might not know how to respond. It is also important that you understand the time limits that might apply to your potential claim in court. The experienced employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler might help you with your complaint and with making certain that you follow the relevant statute of limitations.

What Constitutes Workplace Sexual Harassment?

In general, workplace sexual harassment involves more than a single discrete action. For instance, if you were offended by one off-color joke, you will be unlikely to have a valid claim for sexual harassment. However, egregious single acts may rise to the level of prohibited sexual harassment. In other cases, the harassment may be ongoing and continuous. Sexual harassment may be divided into direct harassment or indirect harassment. Direct harassment might include the following:

  • Being asked for sexual favors by your supervisor or coworker
  • Being threatened by your supervisor or coworker
  • Unwanted touching
  • Being the target of offensive gestures

Indirect harassment might include the following types of conduct:

  • Being shown sexual images by your supervisor or coworker
  • Sexual comments or jokes that are directed at you
  • When coworkers or supervisors spread rumors about your sex life

Sexual harassment may also occur when a customer or client acts inappropriately in a sexual manner toward you, and your employer does not take action.

Timeline for Filing a Charge With the EEOC

In order to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you must first file a written complaint with your company, according to its internal procedures. If your employer fails to act on your complaint, you have the right to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC. The agency requires that you file your complaint within 180 days of the last incident of sexual harassment, so it is important for you to act promptly when you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment.

Timeline for Filing a Lawsuit in Pennsylvania State Court

Pennsylvania’s law extends the time period under which you may file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to 300 days after the last date that you were sexually harassed at your job. If your employer violated the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, your attorney may opt to file your claim for harassment under Pennsylvania’s state law if you missed the deadlines under the EEOC.

Timeline for Filing a Lawsuit in New Jersey State Court

In New Jersey, you must file a sex discrimination or retaliation claim within two years of the date of the last incident. If your sexual harassment created a hostile work environment because of its ongoing and continuous nature, you must file your complaint within two years of the date of the last incident. However, you will be able to sue for the entire period of harassment if the court finds a continuing violation because of a series of documented violations.

What Should You Do if You Have Been Sexually Harassed at Work?

If you have been sexually harassed at your job, you should first confront the harasser and ask him or her to stop. If the harassment continues, file your employer’s procedure and file a written complaint with your company. If nothing is done or if your employer retaliates against you, it is important for you to promptly seek the help of the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler, By acting quickly, you may avail yourself of protections under both state and federal law. Contact Swartz Swidler today to schedule your consultation.