Both federal and state (the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act) offer workers protection against workplace discrimination practices. They make it illegal for employers and potential employers to perform discriminatory practices on the basis of age, gender, race, color, religion and nation of origin.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, between fiscal years 2016 and 2018, the overall number of charges of workplace discrimination dropped. However, in spite of this, discrimination in the workplace continues to persist. While employees have the right to report discrimination, many do not exercise this right because they fear retaliation.
Retaliation is illegal
Employers cannot legally retaliate against workers for reporting discrimination or harassment. They also cannot legally retaliate against other workers supporting a worker who files a discrimination claim or workers who simply question the lawfulness of certain actions.
Retaliation encompasses any actions meant to punish workers for reporting or supporting reporters of discrimination
Examples of retaliation include firing or randomly demoting an individual solely for filing a discrimination claim. Employers may also assign the most unpleasant tasks or roles to reporters or treat them harshly (yelling, offering unfair criticisms, isolating them, etc.). They may even begin to rate the employee badly in every review when nothing changed in their performance in order to create a reason to fire him or her or to force him or her to quit. There must be proof that any punishment is in retaliation and not for normal workplace infractions.
Workplace retaliation is against the law. As with discrimination, employees have the option of reporting any actions against them that constitute workplace retaliation.