How to Sue Your Employer for Discrimination

Employment discrimination occurs more often than it should in the workplace. Sometimes it’s prompted by the culture of the workplace or by specific people within the company. Whatever the circumstances, employment discrimination is still illegal and inappropriate for the workplace.

Employers are not permitted to discriminate against employees for any of the following reasons.

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • LGBT
  • National origin
  • Age (40 or older)
  • Disability
  • Genetic information

When you suspect that you’ve faced illegal employment discrimination, you need to take steps to pursue your rights.  Establish a paper trail of seeking to resolve the problem within your work by speaking with your manager or filing an in-company complaint with Human Resources. If and when your case gets to court, you should be able to show that you did everything in your power to solve the employment discrimination before filing with a government agency.

A key component to succeeding in bringing a complaint to a government agency, whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, is hiring a Pittsburgh employment attorney. Frankly, a lawyer spends every working day dealing with the legal system, understanding the ins and outs of the process. An attorney knows exactly how to move your case forward.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

The government has laid out a number of laws to protect workers. These laws make up the backbone of your case when seeking to prove that you’ve suffered employment discrimination.

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
  • Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

Anti-Discrimination Government Agencies

Having anti-discrimination laws does nothing without a group to enforce those laws. Therefore, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC), a state agency, exist to ensure that these laws are followed. The PHRC specifically upholds the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), which prohibits employment discrimination within Pennsylvania.

When an employee files a complaint of employment discrimination, their complaint is filed either with the EEOC or the PHRC.  Sometimes, it may make sense to dual file. But a lawyer can best help you determine what makes sense for your situation.

2 Basic Steps to Sue Your Employer for Discrimination

Many people believe that to have a lawsuit, you just proclaim, “I’m going to sue you.” It’s not quite that simple. The legal system is made up of a series of processes to ensure that your situation is analyzed appropriately.

1. File a Complaint with a Government Agency.

Your first step to a lawsuit is to file a complaint. This complaint can be filed with the EEOC as well as the PHRC in person or by mail. From there, your complaint is investigated, and the government agencies try to resolve the issue.  Be sure to work with an attorney to ensure that your complaint holds all relevant and crucial information about your situation.

2. Receive a Dismissal or Notice of Right-to-Sue.

Eventually, the EEOC or PHRC will make a decision about your complaint. Of course, you can also request a Notice of Right-to-Sue if 180 days have passed. Once you have the notice, you can file a lawsuit. Beware that you only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit, usually only 90 days. Your employment attorney can keep your case on schedule.


When you file your complaint with the EEOC and the PHRC, you can then choose to file your lawsuit with either the federal court or the state court. You cannot file with both. An employment attorney will know which court will be best for your employment discrimination issue.

Contact a Pittsburgh Employment Lawyer Today

When you file an employment discrimination complaint, you intend to win. To score a favorable outcome to your situation, hiring a lawyer is a necessary step to setting up your case for success. First consultation is on us. Call 412-282-8248!

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