It is a violation of your legal rights for a private or government employer to discriminate based on any of a number of legally protected categories. For more information, see the categories below for information specific to your case.
If you have lost your job or suffered undue consequences at work as a result of your race or national origin, you might be a victim of race discrimination. Unfortunately, not all cases of discrimination are so easy to see. Sometimes, it takes place when an employer displays an unconscious preference or distaste for employees of a particular race. Whether it is obvious or not, race discrimination is wrong and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Both federal and state laws generally forbid private employers, labor unions, and state and local government agencies from:
- Denying an applicant a job on the basis of race or color
- Denying promotions, transfers, or assignments on the basis of race or color
- Penalizing workers with reduced privileges, reduced employment opportunities, and reduced compensation on the basis of race or color
- Firing a worker on the basis of race or color
Just like when an employer discriminates based upon race or ethnicity, when employers treat people differently because of their gender, they are breaking the law.
If you have been fired or passed over for a promotion because of your age, you have been the victim of age discrimination. Much like your gender and your race, you have no control over your age. If your employer has made hiring and firing decisions based on the ages of applicants or employees, you need a skilled personal injury lawyer experienced in employment discrimination to help you protect your rights.
Age discrimination was made illegal by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (commonly known as the ADEA). The ADEA states that age cannot be a factor in decisions regarding any of the following:
- Firing and “wrongful termination”
- Compensation and benefits
- Terms of employment
- Employee privileges
Federal law states that employees age 40 and up can file age discrimination claims. Under New Jersey law, however, you only need to be 18 or older. In fact, although it is relatively rare, New Jersey law prohibits “reverse” age discrimination if an employer discriminates against an employee because it perceives him or her to be too young.
If your disability does not physically prevent you from doing your job, then your employer has no basis to discriminate against you because of it. Unfortunately, because of stigma and backward thinking, many employers still unlawfully discriminate against or harass employees with limitations.
Unlike under federal law, in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a disability does not necessarily have to be severe or debilitating before it is illegal for your employer to discriminate against you because of it. Thus, while more severe disabilities such as blindness, paralysis, or confinement to a wheel chair are disabilities, other limitations like learning disabilities, depression and anxiety, or cancer in remission also fit under the broad definition of disabilities.
Disabled individuals have a right to expect that their employers will provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace to allow them to perform the essential functions of their job. If you make a request for reasonable accommodations and are denied, your rights may have been violated. Bear in mind: your employer does not necessarily have to provide you the exact accommodations you requested. It just has to provide an accommodation that allows you to perform your job. If your employer does not do so, it may have failed to adequately accommodate your disability.
Like other types of discrimination in the workplace, federal and state laws prohibit employers from treating employees or job applicants differently due to their religious beliefs or practices. In addition, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees with regard to religious holidays and other customs.
Religious discrimination laws prevent employers from treating employees more or less favorably, in employment-based decisions on the basis of the employee’s religious affiliations or beliefs. This includes prohibiting firing, demoting, harassing, refusing to hire, or taking another adverse action against an employee because he or she is or is not:
- Muslim (Islamic)
Regardless of their religion, or beliefs, employers cannot require a condition of employment that puts an applicant for hire in a position either to participate or not to participate in a religious belief or practice.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION
In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it is a violation of your rights for an employer to discriminate against you because of your sexual orientation. It is unlawful to fire an employee because of their sexual orientation, even if the termination is part of a mass layoff or reduction in force. Likewise, it is illegal discrimination if an employee’s sexual orientation is the basis for straight or heterosexual workers receiving better jobs, more lucrative promotions, bigger raises, higher bonuses or other favoritism in comparison with equally or better qualified gay or lesbian employees.
If you believe you may be the victim of sexual orientation discrimination, we are prepared to fight for you. Our firm represents employees who have experienced discrimination at work because they are:
If you or someone you know has suffered the devastating effects of employment discrimination, do not hesitate to contact the experienced and sympathetic Philadelphia personal injury attorneys of Messa & Associates. Our team of skilled and qualifies litigators will work to earn you or your loved one the compensation they need and deserve. Contact our office toll-free at 1-877-MessaLaw for a FREE case evaluation, or submit a free online inquiry. Together, we can achieve justice.