No one should be subjected to unlawful discrimination, particularly when they are at work and simply trying to earn a living. Discrimination can cause employees to dread, or even fear, going to work. Unfortunately, they often feel as though they have no choice, as they must still support themselves.
It is critical for employees to understand that they have rights. Both state law and federal law prohibits employment discrimination. When an employer does not comply with the law, harmed employees can take legal action. If you have experienced unlawful employment discrimination, our Delaware County employment discrimination lawyers can help.
Certain individuals are classified as part of a protected class. The law stipulates that employers cannot discriminate against employees based on certain immutable characteristics, such as:
Employers are not allowed to consider the above traits when they are making decisions on hiring, firing, or any other material decision related to employment matters. When they do, they are in violation of the law and may be held liable for their discriminatory practices.
State law defines unlawful harassment as a wrongful act that is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with an employee’s ability to do his or her job, which places the affected employee in a hostile work environment. Some forms of harassment may include physical attacks, offensive slurs, offensive pictures or objects, intimidation, and threats. When some types of harassment occur in the workplace, they may be considered a form of illegal discrimination..
Usually, harassment has to occur on an ongoing basis for it to be illegal. A single or isolated occurrence will typically not rise to the level of illegal discrimination. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes one act of harassment can be severe or egregious enough to hold an employer liable for the wrongful act.
Sometimes, discrimination is obvious, such as when an employer constantly uses racial slurs towards certain employees. However, it is often much more subtle. Disparate impact discrimination occurs when an employer’s neutral, seemingly non-discriminatory policies or practices has a disproportionate adverse impact on the material terms and working conditions of employees in protected classes.
As an example, an employer may enact a policy that requires applicants to meet minimum height and weight requirements before they are hired or promoted. If those requirements have a disproportionately adverse impact on women that may be a form of discrimination because it places women at an inherent disadvantage in the job selection process.
Employees must prove disparate impact discrimination just as they prove other types of unlawful discrimination, but it is not easy. Employers can defend themselves by showing that the policy is a business necessity. Employees must then prove there was no alternative practice that could have been used to satisfy the business needs.
If you have been the victim of discrimination at work, call our Delaware County employment discrimination lawyers today. At Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC, our experienced attorneys will evaluate your potential claim and can help hold employers liable for their discriminatory acts. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.
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