Discrimination in the workplace is far from a relic of the past. In fact, according to a recent survey by Glassdoor, roughly 3 out of every 5 workers in the U.S. have either experienced workplace discrimination or watched it happen to someone else.
Even though it remains pervasive in Pennsylvania and across the country, workplace discrimination is often illegal. In fact, there are both federal and state laws that prevent employers from discriminating against employees and applicants because of their race, national origin, color, sex, disability or even age in some cases.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
The PHRA is a state law that addresses workplace discrimination for members of the above protected classes, making it the state counterpart to federal anti-discrimination laws. It also prevents employers from retaliating against applicants, employees and former employees who file discrimination complaints or otherwise invoke their legal rights.
A dual legal scheme
It is important to note that different levels of government want to protect workers from illegal discrimination. Therefore, when treating you improperly, your employer may have violated both state and federal law. This dual legal scheme may give you more than one option for seeking redress.
Your next steps
If you expect an employer may have taken adverse employment action against you in violation of the PHRA or federal law, it is critical for you to understand all your legal options. After all, depending on the facts of your situation, you may be able to file a legal claim under the PHRA, federal law or even both.
Ultimately, by carefully weighing the pros and cons of each of your options, you can decide how best to hold your employer legally responsible for treating you unfairly.