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Racism in the Workplace

Racism in the Workplace

Our Pennsylvania Race Discrimination Lawyers are seeing numerous people of color and of various national origins that are, sadly, experiencing unprecedented discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Racism includes but is not limited to terminations due to racism, harassment and hostile work environment and retaliation.

Under Title VII and Section 1981 it is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment, including:

  1. Hiring and firing;
  2. Compensation, assignment, or classification of employees;
  3. Transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall;
  4. Job advertisements;
  5. Recruitment;
  6. Testing;
  7. Use of company facilities;
  8. Training and apprenticeship programs;
  9. Fringe benefits;
  10. Pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or
  11. Other terms and conditions of employment.

Discriminatory practices under these laws also include:

  1. harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or age;
  2. retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices;
  3. employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities; and
  4. denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability.

The Civil Rights Act of 1991 made major changes in the federal laws against employment discrimination. Enacted in part to reverse several Supreme Court decisions that limited the rights of persons protected by these laws, the Act also provides additional protections. The Act authorizes compensatory and punitive damages in cases of intentional discrimination, and provides for obtaining attorneys’ fees and the right to jury trials. Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group.

Employers are required to post notices to all employees advising them of their rights under the laws the EEOC enforces and their right to be free from retaliation. Such notices must be accessible, as needed, to persons with visual or other disabilities that affect reading.

Note: Many states and municipalities, including Pittsburgh, also have enacted protections against discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, status as a parent, marital status and political affiliation.

What Other Practices Are Discriminatory Under These Laws?

National Origin and Race based Discrimination
It is illegal to discriminate against an individual because of birthplace, ancestry, culture, or linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group. A rule requiring that employees speak only English on the job may violate Title VII unless an employer shows that the requirement is necessary for conducting business.

Which Employers are Covered by These Laws?

Section 1981 covers all employers and employees so that your attorney can take these cases directly to federal court without the need to exhaust the claims through administrative agencies. This is important as well because the statute of limitations for these claims has been determined to be four (4) years as opposed to 300 days for Title VII claims regarding race.

Title VII covers all private employers, state and local governments, and education institutions that employ fifteen (15) or more individuals. These laws also cover private and public employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor management committees controlling apprenticeship and training. Again there is less time to file these claims.

In West Virginia, these claims can go to court immediately under the West Virginia Human Rights Act or to federal court under Section 1981. In West Virginia you do not have to exhaust state claims but you do have to exhaust Title VII federal claims.

Who can File a Charge of Discrimination?

Any individual who believes that his or her rights have been violated may file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC or with a state or local agency. In addition, an individual, organization, or agency may file a charge on behalf of another person in order to protect the aggrieved person’s identity.

How is a Charge of Discrimination Filed?

A charge may be filed online, by mail, or in person at the nearest EEOC office. Contact us for assistance. We maintain all the required forms and can assist you in preparing your Charge of Discrimination and Supporting Affidavit.

Our Pennsylvania and West Virginia Race Discrimination Lawyers represent employees in Pennsylvania and West Virginia with issues related to race based discrimination, harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation and wrongful termination cases.

Donham Law can assist you with your claims and federal court filings. Contact us at 717.881.7855 or fill out our contact form.

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