Puerto Rico sexual discrimination law in the workplace follows the federal Title VII laws which means they fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There have been some recent changes to how this enforcement is handled, however, so it’s important for employers and employees to stay informed.
In July of 2006, the EEOC opened a district EEOC office in San Juan. Previously, people in Puerto Rico had to go through the New York District office.
Title VII applies to all employers who have fifteen or more employees and prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sex. This includes “Equal Pay for Equal Work” as outlined in the Equal Pay Act. Employers also cannot make decision in the matter of hiring, firing and determining job conditions, terms, compensation and privileges on the basis of an individual’s sex.
Anyone in Puerto Rico who wants to file a claim against their employer can do so by contacting the EEOC within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. They will have to provide their contact information, their employer’s contact information and a detailed description of the incident. This description needs to include all relevant dates and incidents as well as the names of anyone involved with or witnesses to the discrimination.
Another option you have with the EEOC is to go through their mediation process if you both agree. This process strives to help you negotiate a settlement.
It is also possible to take your employer to the federal court system if you want. You’ll still have to file with the EEOC, but you’ll need to request a “Right to Sue” letter before you can file the case in federal court.
Because of the recent changes, it’s vitally important for employers and employees to keep informed of their rights and responsibilities in the workplace. Employers should also update their Puerto Rico Complete Labor Law Posters so that they reflect these changes.