Legal Question in Employment Law in Pennsylvania

I'm in the state of PA and I've read that the EEOC and PA Dept of Labor and Industry have a strict time limit of 180 days for reporting sexual harassment. If instances occurred in 2007, 2008, 2009, and most recently 4 months ago can I only file suit on the most recent instance in Federal or State court?

Asked on 3/18/11, 5:38 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Will Whitman Whitman, LLC

If you are seeking relief for workplace sexual harassment in PA under the PA Human Relations Act and/or federal law, then you must first file with the state and / or federal agencies that handle those matters before proceeding to state or federal court. Those agencies are the PHRC (PA Human Relations Commission) and the EEOC (the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Only after first filing there can you proceed to state or federal court. The EEOC web site indicates that "ongoing harassment" is an exception to the general rule that timely filing means within 180 (or 300) days of when each discriminatory event took place. For ongoing harassment claims, "you must file your charge within 180 or 300 days of the last incident of harassment, although we will look at all incidents of harassment when investigating your charge, even if the earlier incidents happened more than 180/300 days earlier."

Therefore, I believe you would not be filing a separate charge or complaint for each specific instance of harassment, but rather, would indicate all instances when the harassment occurred, with facts as specifically as possible, including when they occurred. I believe your claims would be timely as long as they were filed within the statute of limitations starting with the last instance (4 months ago). There's pretty good guidelines on how to file available online (i.e., and As an aside, at least with respect to a claim filed with the EEOC, you may have as much as 300 days to file. "The 180 calendar day filing deadline is extended to 300 calendar days if a state or local agency enforces a law that prohibits employment discrimination on the same basis." I hope this helps.

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Answered on 3/19/11, 11:19 am

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