The United States is a country that has long prided itself on equality, fair treatment, and a strong work ethic. In order for these beliefs to be upheld, everyone needs an equal opportunity to succeed in the workplace, which is what state and federal employment laws strive to accomplish. However, many employers undermine this system when they see fit, either to produce a larger profit at the expense of their employees or to invoke harassing and discriminatory behavior due to their unethical belief systems. When an employer has engaged in unethical behavior, an ethics investigation must be carried out by an experienced employment attorney.
When do Ethics Investigations Occur?
An ethics investigation will ensue when there have been allegations of employer misconduct in the workplace. Such misconduct includes discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation for cooperating with law enforcement or participating in a workplace claim, and any other time when an employer has potentially violated the law and harmed their employees.
Discrimination Ethics Investigation
With the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act, employers are strictly prohibited from engaging in any unfavorable employment decision that is made with an employee’s protected characteristic in mind. These protected characteristics include the following:
- Age (if over 40)
- National origin
- Relationship to a person with a disability
- Having a GED instead of a high school diploma
- Use of a guide dog or support animal for blindness, deafness, or a physical handicap, or because the user trains or handles such support dogs or guide animals
If any of these protected characteristics are used to make an employment decision, such as hiring, firing, benefits, wages, or promotion/demotion, an ethics investigation will seek to uncover the employer’s wrongdoing.
Harassment Ethics Investigation
One out of five American adults has been harassed on the job, according to CNBC. Harassment involves intimidation, threats, physical or sexual assault, sexual harassment such as quid pro quo, exclusion, mockery, making fun of, and other hurtful and unfair treatment of an employee based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or other characteristics. Harassment is actually one of the most common types of discrimination based on the previously mentioned protected characteristics of an employee. A recent study found that three out of four employees who spoke out against workplace harassment were retaliated against, according to Vox. Retaliation is another unlawful act that an ethics investigation can uncover.
Hostile Workplace Investigation
A hostile workplace is any workplace where an employee is unable to perform a job to his or her fullest potential because of the discrimination from co-workers, managers, or employers. Evidence of a hostile workplace may include emails or co-worker testimony, which an ethics investigator can use to prove your case.
Our Pennsylvania Ethics Investigators can Help
With over 40 years of experience helping employees win workplace discrimination and harassment claims, our ethics investigators will form a team that you can trust. Call the Pennsylvania HKM Employment Attorneys today to schedule a meeting so that we may begin an ethics investigation to prove your employer’s misconduct.