Workers in Pennsylvania and around the country are often victims of illegal workplace discrimination. Otherwise qualified individuals may be overlooked for hiring or promotion, denied accommodations for disabilities or be subjected to sexual harassment.
A recent analysis of multiple studies across 25 years indicates what some Black and Latino people in Pennsylvania might already know: Job opportunities can be hard to find for minorities. Researchers from multiple universities reviewed 28 studies dating as far back as 1989. Studies about callbacks from job applications consistently produced a bias in favored of white people. Black job applicants heard back from potential employers at a rate 36 percent lower than white applicants. Latinos fared a little better with a callback rate only 24 percent lower than whites.
Pennsylvania employers may know about DACA and the protection that it offers to roughly 800,000 younger undocumented immigrants in the United States. However, that program may end if Congress does nothing to extend or otherwise alter the program. Employers who have workers covered by DACA may be tempted to terminate them or otherwise ask about their immigration status. However, this may be seen as illegal discrimination.
Equal Pay Day for the typical woman employee in Pennsylvania is April 4. What this means is that it takes a woman until that date to make the same amount that a man made in the previous year. For a woman of color, that doesn't take place until July 31. In some cases, women of all colors are paid less than men who have less experience and training.
Older Pennsylvania tech workers may face discrimination at work. The AARP conducted a survey in 2013 that found two-thirds of workers in that industry said they had experienced or seen age discrimination on the job. One recruitment platform found that tech workers 45 and older face limited opportunities in the workplace.
A Pennsylvania federal appeals court ruled that a single extreme discriminatory act, even if it happens in isolation, may be enough to create a hostile work environment that violates workers' rights. Two men who worked as general laborers filed a lawsuit after a supervisor used a racial slur in discussing the men's work. They complained about the incident to another supervisor and were fired after two weeks without being given an explanation. They were then rehired but let go for what the company claimed was a lack of work.
When an employee pursues a race discrimination case, it may be done pursuant to Title VII or Section 1981. The two statutes have many similarities, and facts in a case can be pursued under both laws at the same time. However, Pennsylvania residents should understand that the Supreme Court has ruled that these are distinct and separate causes of action. Depending on the facts of a case, this may help or hurt a worker's claim.
According to a survey conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, close to 80 percent of physicians who are also mothers are victims of workplace discrimination. Nearly 6,000 women responded to the survey, which posed questions about the respondents' physical, mental and reproductive health as well as questions about their experiences with discrimination or burnout at their places of work.
In order to help employers best protect their workers, OSHA has launched the Safe and Sound Campaign. It urges business owners to evaluate their health and safety programs in an effort to eliminate workplace dangers and other hazards that can lead to occupational injuries and fatalities.
It may be difficult for pregnant workers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere to know if their workplace rights are being violated. Considering the current nationwide debate over reproductive rights, the issue of discrimination could be even more confusing for some. In fact, a bill in South Dakota intended to mandate reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees was recently voted down.