For generations, the Americans have prided themselves on their diversity and willingness to accept other cultures, religions, and foreigners into American society. However, in actual practice, American acceptance towards others has never been so open-armed. With growing nationalism and fear of foreigners, ethnic discrimination is becoming more and more prevalent in Pennsylvania workplaces. Ethnic discrimination, however, is illegal under state and federal laws.
Examples of Ethnic Discrimination
According to the United Nations, racism and xenophobia are on the rise throughout the entire globe. Xenophobia is the irrational fear of or hatred of people from other countries or cultures, and it is a real problem in Pennsylvania workplaces. Ethnic discrimination, which is illegal under both the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is the mistreatment of a person based on his or her ethnicity including traits such as religion, language, race, culture, national origin, and the way the person looks or dresses. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), ethnic discrimination is unlawful in all of this four forms:
- Discrimination due to affiliation with an ethnic group
- Discrimination due to the employee’s physical or cultural traits;
- Discrimination due to the perception that the employee is Muslim, Mexican, etc.; and
- Discrimination due to the employee’s association with another person.
Common examples of ethnic discrimination include the following:
- Refusing to hire someone based on ethnicity;
- Failing to promote an employee based on ethnicity;
- Firing an employee for wearing traditional clothing, such as a hijab;
- Refusing to make a reasonable ethnic accommodation, such as allowing an employee to take a certain religious holiday off or adhere to their customs by dressing modestly; and
- Harassing an employee because of religious or cultural beliefs.
Any form of negative employment decision, when made because of an employee’s ethnicity, is considered to be a form of discrimination. This includes everything from promoting the job and the hiring process, to promotions, pay raises, and termination. If an employee has mistreated you in any way, even if it is simply for mocking or making fun of you based on your ethnicity, you have the right to file a workplace discrimination or harassment claim against them.
Harassment is one of the more hurtful forms of discrimination and includes a wide range of actions by your employer and coworkers. Ethnic harassment includes habitual and damaging jokes, exclusion, physical threats, physical or psychological assault, making fun of, mocking, and more. If this behavior has become common practice for your coworkers, and your employer knew or should have known about it and failed to put it to a quick and permanent end, you have the right to sue your employer for creating a hostile work environment.
A Pennsylvania Ethnic Discrimination Lawyer can Help
If you or a loved one has experienced ethnic discrimination at work, a Pennsylvania attorney may be able to shed some light on your rights and your options for compensatory and punitive damages. Contact a Pennsylvania attorney with HKM Employment Attorneys today.