|Posted:||April 5, 2018 10:51 AM|
|From:||Representative Margo L. Davidson|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Increase the Statute of Limitations for Filing Discrimination and Harassment Complaints|
Discrimination, sexual harassment and other forms of workplace harassment are all too common. This behavior will not be tolerated and we have a responsibility as elected officials to fix it. Because victims can be unsure whether behavior or circumstances qualify as workplace harassment, or because they may fear a loss of position or employment, these behaviors are often unreported. Victims can experience feelings of fear, doubt, embarrassment or shame. When workplace harassment is not addressed, employees do not feel safe and a business’s environment quickly deteriorates and becomes toxic and unproductive. To address this pervasive issue, and to encourage reporting of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, I am introducing legislation to extend the statute of limitations for complaints submitted to the PA Human Relations Commission and to establish added protections for victims and whistleblowers in cases of discrimination as well as sexual and other workplace harassment.
Time is often a factor in whether or not a victim or whistleblower steps forward. Victims need time to process their emotions and to build the courage necessary to address these matters. Therefore, the amount of time victims and whistleblowers have to file a complaint must be extended. My legislation amends the PA Human Relations Act to extend the statute of limitations on complaints submitted to the PA Human Relations Commission from 180 days to two years. In addition, my bill would grant individuals filing a complaint the option to have a jury hear their case in state court and would allow victims to seek punitive damages in workplace discrimination cases, as they already can in states like New Jersey and Ohio. Finally, in recognizing that burdensome legal fees can deter victims from pursuing their cases, my bill would allow sexual harassment victims who win in state court to collect attorney fees from the defendant.
We must stand together to strengthen protections against harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Join me in supporting this legislation to protect victims and whistleblowers and to help ensure all working men and women feel safe on the job and in the workplace.
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Introduced as HB2286