Fat shaming is a form of bullying and discrimination that can have negative effects on a person’s emotional and mental state. Being fat shamed can be devastating, and it’s a problem that’s all too common. In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their weight, but what if you have been fat-shamed? Can you sue somebody for it? In this blog post, we will discuss the legal options available to you if you have been fat-shamed in Pennsylvania.
Firstly, it is essential to determine whether the fat shaming you experienced in Pennsylvania was a violation of any existing laws. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) protects individuals from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on their race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status. The act does not explicitly mention weight as a protected class. However, courts have extended protection under the PHRA to individuals who have been discriminated against based on their weight or body size.
Secondly, to file a lawsuit for fat shaming under the PHRA, you must file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) within 180 days of the incident. The PHRC will investigate your complaint and determine whether there is sufficient evidence of discrimination based on weight or body size. If the PHRC determines that discrimination occurred, they may issue a determination of probable cause and move forward with litigation.
Thirdly, there are other legal avenues to consider when pursuing a fat-shaming lawsuit, such as defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defamation occurs when someone makes false and damaging statements about you, in this case, about your weight, in a way that harms your reputation. Intentional infliction of emotional distress involves extreme and outrageous conduct that goes beyond mere insults or teasing.
Fourthly, it is also essential to consider the severity of the fat shaming and the impact it had on you. In Pennsylvania, if the harassment is severe, pervasive, and interferes with your ability to do your job or go about your daily life, it might be considered harassment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive. If this harassment occurs at work, it might give rise to a lawsuit under federal law as well, which has its own set of standards.
If you have been fat shamed, know that you have legal options. You can file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission or consider other legal avenues such as defamation or intentional infliction of emotional distress. It’s essential to understand the laws in Pennsylvania that protect you against discrimination and harassment. Lastly, consult with an experienced attorney who can advise you and protect your rights. Remember, you don’t have to suffer in silence, and there are legal remedies available to you.