Philadelphia Workplace Discrimination Lawyers
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Philadelphia Workplace Discrimination Lawyers
Workplace Discrimination Law
Discrimination, no matter the specifics, is illegal. Anyone may face discrimination. Likewise, anyone can be discriminatory against someone. More often than not, discrimination takes place in the workplace. Still, discrimination can happen at a grocery store, out shopping, or even when you book an Airbnb in your favorite city. Discrimination is discrimination. That means that anyone can sue for discrimination, regardless of whether they are in the minority or not.
If you face discrimination, you may be able to seek relief for your embarrassment, mistreatment, and any financial harm. Discrimination can take many forms, but compensation takes only one. Seeking our services is the best way to recover after an act of discrimination leaves you reeling.
How Do You Prove Discrimination in the Workplace
Discrimination laws exist at both the state and federal level, and their purpose is to protect employees from mistreatment based on a legally protected trait. There is a long list of protected traits (called “protected classes”), including race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and pregnancy), age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, genetic information, or citizenship. There are also variances depending on the state you live in, which may protect additional traits. Specifically, discrimination in the workplace occurs when an adverse employment action is taken against an employee based on their membership in a protected class.
There are many laws which protect against discrimination, and the specific laws applicable to your workplace may slightly alter the necessary requirements to demonstrate discrimination in the workplace. For most employment discrimination claims, the first step in the process of demonstrating discrimination is filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or its local equivalent. Once a complaint is filed, the EEOC provides the employee with a right-to-sue letter, after which the employee must file in court within ninety days of receipt of the letter. Once in court, there are several theories under which discrimination can be proven. To name a few, discrimination can be demonstrated through a theory of disparate treatment, harassment, failure to accommodate, disparate impact, pattern or practice of discrimination, or retaliation.
As you can tell from the above information, there are many approaches to proving discrimination and the process will depend heavily on the facts specific to your situation as well as the state in which you live. For these reasons, it is vital that you seek an attorney’s advice before and throughout your discrimination claim. The attorneys at Freundlich and Littman, LLC., are here to help, and you can call us today at 215-545-8500 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a free consultation.
Westlaw, Discrimination: Overview, Practical Law Labor and Employment, maintained 2020, accessed July 13, 2020.
Kerri Lynn Stone, Decoding Civility, 28 Berkeley J. Gender L. & Just. 185 (2013).
By law, no one may discriminate against another individual on the basis of a protected class. Everyone in the United States belongs in one protected class or another. A protected class refers to a characteristic of a person that is legally protected by law. For legal discrimination, it is a matter of proving whether someone discriminated against an individual because of their protected class. Meaning, an individual may be treated a certain way for their behavior and not characteristics.
Currently, these are the protected classes of people as defined by federal law:
- Equal Pay/Compensation
- Genetic Information
- National Origin
- Sexual Harassment
Color discrimination is a bit different than race discrimination. Color discrimination stems from the pigmentation of a person’s skin. Namely, if an individual is a darker or lighter skinned member of a particular race.
As a right now, sexual orientation is not protected in most of the country. Still, you might be able to make a case for sexual orientation discrimination. To learn more, please contact our office.
Retaliation can be in many forms. Retaliation means that an employer is seeking to punish an employee for a number of reasons such as:
- Making a complaint of discrimination
- Speaking up for a fellow employee
- Cooperating in an official investigation of discrimination
- Cooperating in a legal proceeding regarding discrimination.
In order to help you understand the reach of discrimination laws, take these common examples into consideration:
- An employee is a minority. Their employer is a company with more than 100 people. Year after year, this employee faces cruel jokes about their race from the other employees. Regardless of their fellow employee’s race, the employee feels discriminated against. They report their feelings to the Human Resources manager who promised support without bias. They tell the employee that “your kind is too sensitive” and dismiss you. This is discrimination.
- An employee is getting on in life. The individual works as a hostess in a local casino. She is 42. For the last six months, her boss has been putting pressure on her to look younger to please the customers. Her regulars do not mind her age, but the comments pick up. Soon, she starts getting worse shifts. Eventually, the employer fires the employee for failure to meet dress code expectations. This is discrimination.
- Last, a man receives a poor medical diagnosis. He is still able to navigate in the world, but every now and then he needs the help of a service animal to navigate. With the proper paperwork and identification on his dog, he enters a large chain hardware store. The store denies entry because of his service animal. This is discrimination.
You may not face retaliation for making a complaint, speaking out against the discrimination of another, or otherwise participating in any “investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit” regarding an act of discrimination.
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