Are employers responsible for preventing discrimination in the workplace in Pennsylvania?

woman facing discrimination in the workplace

Starting a new job is an exciting time for many, as beginning a new position can offer many different opportunities. However, this excitement can quickly fade if you find you are subject to discrimination in the workplace. Not only does this make going to work anxiety-inducing, but it is also illegal. You may not know your employer is responsible for creating a safe and healthy work environment for all employees. If you believe your employer is perpetuating a hostile work environment due to their failure to prevent discrimination, you’ll want to contact a Pennsylvania employee rights lawyer immediately.

What does discrimination in the workplace look like?

It is vital to understand that employees are protected under federal law from discriminating against employees of a protected class. Furthermore, state and local laws can place additional statutes on what is prohibited in the workplace. Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace can manifest in a number of ways. This includes the following backgrounds and identities:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Sex, including pregnancy discrimination
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Citizenship
  • National origin
  • Veteran status

Generally, any form of harassment, discrimination, or unfair treatment on the basis of one of the protected classes constitutes discrimination. For example, if you are passed up for a job promotion and another, less qualified co-worker is hired, it could be due to your classification as someone in a protected class which is illegal. Also, being subjected to comments and micro-aggressions in relation to any of the aforementioned classes is a form of discrimination.

What should I do if my employer is not preventing prejudice?

When an employer fails to prevent discrimination, they are violating federal law. Generally, employers can be held responsible if they do not prevent or stop discrimination, especially if an employee speaks to the appropriate personnel, like a manager, about what they’re experiencing. However, if the employer is the one perpetuating the hostile behavior, it may be ideal to speak to Human Resources as a way to avoid directly confronting the boss. Unfortunately, this is not always a viable option, as some companies may try to cover up anything that could hurt the company’s reputation.

If you’ve brought the discrimination to the attention of the proper channels and nothing has changed, you can elevate your complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). However, you should also consider speaking to an attorney before initiating the complaint, as it can help improve your success chances. This is because, depending on the situation, you may be entitled to more than the EEOC can enforce.

You don’t have to accept discrimination as part of your daily life when in the office. Instead, contacting a seasoned employee rights attorney can help ensure you have a voice against corporate entities. When you need assistance, Friedman Schuman is here to help. Contact our dedicated legal team today to learn how we can help you if you’re facing discrimination in your workplace.

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