Workers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are protected under several federal laws against discrimination based on their protected characteristics. Despite these laws, there are certain discriminatory practices that commonly happen in workplaces. Here is some information from the attorneys at Swartz Swidler about the common types of discriminatory acts that might occur at your workplace.
Affected aspects of employment
The federal anti-discrimination laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, covered employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers or applicants in all of the phases of employment from recruitment, interviewing, and hiring to layoffs and terminations. Workers are also protected against harassment that is based on their sex, religion, color, race, disability, age if over 40, or national origin. Employers may not retaliate against people for filing discrimination charges and may not base their employment decisions on stereotypes of people who have protected characteristics.
Employers must post notices at their workplaces so that employees are advised of their rights against discrimination and retaliation. These notices have to be accessible to people who have disabilities that affect their ability to read.
Other common discriminatory practices
Title VII protects workers from both intentional discrimination as well as facially neutral policies or practices that have disparate impacts on members of protected groups.
Discrimination based on national origin or immigration status
Employers may not discriminate against workers or applicants because of their ethnicity or country of origin under Title VII. In addition, employers may not discriminate against workers because of their immigration or citizenship status under the Immigration Reform and Control Act.
Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to workers for their religious beliefs such as adhering to prayer times. Employers may not be required to provide these accommodations if doing so would cause the employers to suffer undue hardships.
Other discriminatory practices
Other discriminatory practices that are forbidden by Title VII include sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination. Sexual harassment may include hostile environment discrimination or quid pro quo discrimination.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
Employers who have 20 or more workers are prohibited from discriminating against workers who are 40 or older based on their age. This prohibition includes the following:
- Stating age limitations or preferences in job notices
- Discriminating because of age by apprentice programs
- Denying benefits to older workers
Equal Pay Act
Employers cannot discriminate against workers on the basis of a protected characteristic in the payment of benefits or wages when the workers perform similar jobs. Employers must pay workers who have jobs that require similar efforts and skills the same amount. Employers are not allowed to reduce the wages of male workers to try to equalize how much they pay.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against workers or applicants on the basis of their disabilities or their perceived disabilities. They must also provide reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities so that they can perform the tasks of their jobs. However, employers do not have to accommodate workers if the accommodations are unreasonable and would place an undue financial burden on the employers.
Before an employer offers an applicant a job, the employer is not allowed to ask the applicant about his or her disability or perceived disability. The employers may ask the applicants about whether they are able to perform the functions of the jobs. Jobs may be conditioned on medical examinations only if all new employees are required to submit to them. The medical examinations must also be related to the jobs.
Employers who use illegal drugs are not protected under the ADA. Employers may also require drug tests.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991
Under the Civil Rights Act of 1991, plaintiffs are able to recover punitive and compensatory damages when they have been the victims of intentional discrimination. They may also be able to recover attorney’s fees and to have jury trials.
Contact Swartz Swidler
If you believe that you have suffered from one of these common discriminatory practices, it is important for you to talk to an experienced lawyer. Schedule an evaluation of your potential claim with Swartz Swidler by filling out our contact form.