Workplaces across the US and Pennsylvania exhibit a diversity of environments, from welcoming and nurturing to complex and challenging. Sometimes, these workplaces cross a line and result in workplace discrimination.
A variety of laws protect workers from several unfair practices that create hostile work environments and even reduce payments.
A look at federal laws in place
The National Conference of State Legislatures provides a compilation of federal laws that protect workers. The following laws provide protections in the form of hiring practices, wages and benefits and promotions:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
- Title 1 of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990
Each of these laws looks to provide workplace protections for various classes of individuals. The Civil Rights Act, for example, makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based on race, color, religion, national origin or sex. The law also protects workers from employer discrimination in the form of retaliation for bringing a complaint.
A glance at state-level protections
State protections against workplace discrimination follow similar patterns as those at the federal level. Deciding against hiring a job applicant cannot hinge upon the age or sex of the applicant, nor can it violate any of the legal aspects of fair employment practices.
Employers can take into account factors such as bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQ) or the need to follow established security regulations. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission handles employer requests for BFOQ accommodations. Workers who suspect discrimination should take the appropriate steps to receive fair treatment under the law.