What is Racial Employment Discrimination? What Are Your Rights in New Jersey and Pennsylvania?

The United States is a diverse nation with many African-American workers and workers from many nations. Still, sometimes employers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S. don’t recognize that diversity is a valuable asset. They discriminate against workers because of the way they look, their culture or the country they come from. There are federal and state laws to make sure employers don’t discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origin.

Protected Classes- It is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of:

  • Race – Race includes different genetic makeups. Examples include
    • Black/African-American/White
    • Hispanic/Latino
    • Asian
    • Middle Eastern/Arab
    • Native American or Indian
  • Ethnicity – Ethnicity is the way one culturally identifies themselves. Cultural identification means food, music, family roles. Examples include:
    • Italian American,
    • Japanese American
  • National Origin ( Country of Origin) – This classification is based on the person’s ancestry and immigration roots – which countries they came from. All countries can be a basis for national origin discrimination.

Types of Racial Discrimination – Employers are not allowed to discriminate because of race or national origin in the following areas:

  • Hiring for a job, apprenticeship, or trainee position.
  • Firing and Wrongful Termination
  • Benefits – Your benefits (health-care, vacation, retirement, disability leave) should not be different than any other employee solely because of your race or ethnicity or national origin.
  • Promotion – You should be promoted for good work and not because of the color of your skin.
  • Pay – You can’t be be paid differently than others because of your race/national origin
  • Pre-employment screening – The application process can’t test/screen for race.
  • Harassment – Creating a hostile environment – employers need to make sure your work environment is not hostile. While the occasional comment may not qualify as harassment, the sum of all negative comments can’t make you feel like you won’t be comfortably able to perform your job requirements. Examples of harassment include insulting or demeaning jokes.

Racial Discrimination Laws – There are federal and state laws which prohibit racial discrimination

  • Federal – Civil Rights Act of 1964-Title VII This act prohibits discrimination against many classes of people including people of color.
  • New Jersey – New Jersey Law against Discrimination. This law applies to many New Jersey employers.
  • Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. This law applies to many Pennsylvania employers.

Which Employers Are Subject to the Laws

  • Most federal laws – The employer has to:
    • Affect commerce
    • Be the federal government or a state or local government or an educational institutions or a private employer with 15 or more employees.
    • Employers Include:
      • Employment agencies
      • Labor organizations
    • Employers don’t include
      • Indian Tribe
      • Certain Washington, DC agencies
      • Some private clubs.
  • State laws are similar as to how an employer is defined, but there are some differences, such as the number of employees the employer has to have.

How Our Lawyers Can Help
Our racial discrimination lawyers can:

  • Tell you whether you are being discriminated against because of race, ethnicity or national origin.
  • Tell you which federal and state laws apply
  • Tell you where you can file your claim and what the process for a claim is
  • Tell you what damages you can pursue

Our Firm’s Experience
The attorneys of Begelman & Orlow, P. C. have offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Contact our offices at 866-627-7052 or fill out our online form. We have 115 years combined experience protecting your rights in all phases of employment law, including discrimination because of race, ethnicity or national origin and employment retaliation.

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