Pennsylvania Workplace Discrimination

The main federal law banning discrimination in the workplace is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers in the United States from discriminating against employees based on certain protected characteristics, but there are also laws on the state level that protect employees in Pennsylvania from discrimination in the workplace. If you believe you have been discriminated against at work based on your race, sex, age, or another legally protected characteristic, you may have grounds to file an employment discrimination claim against your employer. Consult a reputable Pennsylvania discrimination lawyer today to discuss your options for legal recourse.

What is Employment Discrimination?

Employment discrimination is the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people at work differently than others, because of their membership in a legally protected category, such as sex, religion, age or race. Another type of discrimination at work involves the illegal practice of firing, harassing, demoting or taking any other negative employment action against a worker for exercising his or her rights as an employee, i.e. filing a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Resources Commission, objecting to discriminatory practices in the workplace, or assisting in some way with an employment discrimination investigation.

Protect Characteristics in Pennsylvania

In addition to federal anti-discrimination laws, there are laws on the state level that protect workers from illegal discrimination in employment. In Pennsylvania, for example, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act makes it unlawful for an employer in PA to discriminate against an employee on the basis of the following protected characteristics:

  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Race
  • Color
  • Ancestry
  • Age (40 and above)
  • Sex
  • Non-job related disability
  • Known association with a disabled individual
  • Willingness or refusal to participate in abortion or sterilization
  • Possession of a GED rather than a high school diploma

While there are federal laws in place that cover larger workplaces, the Pennsylvania anti-discrimination statute covers certain smaller workplaces with a fewer number of employees.

Discrimination Laws Pennsylvania // Employment Law Help Center

Filing a Discrimination Claim in PA

In Pennsylvania, a workplace discrimination claim can be filed either with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC), the state administrative agency that covers employers with between four and 14 employees, or the federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which covers employers with 15 or more employees. It is important to know that there are strict time limits in which an employee can file a claim of employment discrimination, and many victims of workplace discrimination choose to consult an employment law attorney before filing a claim, in order to ensure that they are fully aware of their rights and legal options.

Hiring a Pennsylvania Employment Law Attorney

Workplace discrimination can result in serious adverse consequences for all involved parties, including loss of employment, loss of promotion, and possibly even a hostile work environment. If you believe you have been the victim of workplace discrimination in Pennsylvania, contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney as soon as possible, to discuss your legal options. A successful workplace discrimination claim can result in favorable remedies for the employee that was discriminated against, including recovering back pay and being reinstated to his or her position at work. Depending on the claim, victims of employment discrimination may also be entitled to additional damages, such as pain and suffering, punitive damages, and legal fees, such as court costs and attorneys’ fees.