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Fighting Discrimination Based On Race And National Origin

State and federal law prohibit most employers from discriminating against employees or prospective employees on the bases of race, color, national origin or ancestry. Therefore, an employer may not make decisions as to hiring and firing, promotion, discipline, transfers, wages and benefits, work assignments and other terms, conditions or privileges of an individual’s employment because of the individual’s race, color, national origin or ancestry.

Employers today will rarely discriminate in an open and explicit manner. For example, if an employer fires an employee because he is black, the employer will not typically acknowledge to the employee that he is being fired on account of his race. There is no place for that in the workplace, and the attorneys at Shay, Santee, Kelhart & Deschler LLC in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, will pursue legal action.

Taking Claims Of Discrimination Seriously

However, just because discrimination is not open and obvious does not mean that it does not exist. One way an employee can prove discrimination on the basis of his or her race, color, national origin or ancestry is to show that other employees of a different race, color, national origin or ancestry who are similarly situated to the discriminated-against employee were treated differently.

Further, when an employer discriminates against a black or Latino individual because of the individual’s criminal record, that person may have a race or national origin discrimination claim against the employer. If you have suffered an adverse employment action such as a demotion or discharge, and similarly situated co-workers of a different race, color, national origin or ancestry who engaged in the same behavior did not suffer the adverse employment action, you may have a discrimination claim against your employer.

A federal statute, known as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits race, color or national origin discrimination. There is another federal statute, known as Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which also prohibits race-based employment discrimination. At the state level, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin, as well as on the basis of ancestry.

Confronting Employers That Espouse Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination covers any discrimination based upon an individual’s race-related physical or cultural characteristics. Discrimination based on color can, but does not necessarily, overlap with racial discrimination. “Color” is understood to mean pigmentation, complexion or skin shade/tone. Thus, color discrimination occurs when a person is discriminated against based on the lightness, darkness or other color characteristics of the person. Accordingly, even if a supervisor and employee are of the same race, the supervisor could engage in color discrimination if he or she discriminates against the employee on the basis of the employee’s pigmentation, complexion or skin shade/tone.

Addressing National Origin Discrimination

National origin discrimination means treating someone less favorably because he or she comes from a particular place or because his or her ancestors came from a particular place, because of his or her ethnicity or accent, or because he or she appears to have a particular ethnic background. For example, an employer may not discriminate against an employee simply because the employee wears clothing traditionally worn by a member of a certain ethnicity. National origin discrimination also means treating someone less favorably at work because of marriage or any other association with someone of a particular nationality. Employees should be advised that a person’s national origin is not the same as a person’s citizenship status. The Immigration Reform and Control Act prohibits employers with four or more employees from discriminating on the basis of citizenship status.

Contact A Seasoned Employment Discrimination Attorney

If you believe you have been discriminated against at work on the basis of your race, color, ancestry or national origin, call an employment discrimination attorney at Shay, Santee, Kelhart & Deschler LLC in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, immediately to discuss your case. We can assist you in understanding your options and evaluating the strength of your case. Employees and prospective employees should be advised that there are strict and relatively short deadlines for filing a discrimination claim with the applicable state or federal agency. Do not lose your right to bring a claim and get the relief you deserve. Schedule an appointment with us or call 610-295-5328.