Employment Law

Employment Discrimination & Civil Rights

Employment Lawyer Serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If you are the victim of discrimination or retaliation in the workplace or a victim of racial discrimination, you need to contact a lawyer.  If you think your employment rights have been violated, get sound legal advice about your rights and what can be done to remedy the situation from an experienced employment attorney at the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore. We will work diligently on your behalf to protect your rights.

Why Do You Need an Employment Lawyer in Pennsylvania?

Regardless of your relationship with your coworkers, never lose sight of the fact that business is business. Your place of employment should be a place where your goals are realized, but you must also protect your rights and interests. It is essential in this regard to have access to an employment attorney. Every time you enter the workforce, you must be able to maintain your employer’s integrity.

Having our skilled employment lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, on your side might be beneficial in this area. Here are a few fundamental ways in which we may assist you:

Filing a Lawsuit for Wrongful Termination

As an employee, a variety of laws protect your rights. The Equal Pay Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and other laws defend these rights. When these rights are violated, you will require the assistance of our reputable Philadelphia employment lawyer. We will use these laws to assist you if you are wrongfully terminated or laid off.

You Believe You Are Being Unfairly Treated or Disciplined

In addition to an illegal termination, there are various other ways you might be mistreated on the job. Sometimes, you may believe that your manager has anything against you or treats you differently than other employees. Such incidents can be tough to establish, which is why creating a case with an attorney and gathering facts are so important.

You must pay special attention to circumstances in which your rights are infringed due to improper discipline or fabricated performance reports. In this aspect, having access to our skilled employment lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, maybe what you need.

Investigations Into a Toxic Workplace

A toxic workplace is illegal and a significant health concern. According to scientific studies, this is the fifth most common cause of mortality. You’ll need us at the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore, who can demonstrate that a job is a toxic and secure fair compensation.

Claims of Sexual Harassment, Racial Discrimination, and Other Issues

Cases that involve sexual harassment and racial discrimination must be addressed with diligence. You will only be able to accomplish this with our constant documentation of these concerns. We’ll help you figure out what to say to human resources, provide the evidence you need to win your case, and ensure you receive the correct compensation.

You Are Injured or Sick at Work

Workers’ compensation claims are one of our most common concerns. We will assist you in submitting a claim and obtaining long-term compensation. The process entails getting funds for first doctor appointments and arranging everything from salary loss to physical treatment for long-term recovery.

What is the Employment Law?

Employment Law is a complex and ever-changing legal system that governs the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees in the United States. It consists of federal, state, and local laws and government agencies regulations. The law covers various topics, including hiring and firing, pay and benefits, safety and health, leave time, and discrimination.

Employers must comply with the Employment Law or face legal penalties. Employees have rights under the law that they can enforce through lawsuits or complaints to government agencies.

What are the Common Employment Law Cases in Philadelphia?

Severe violations include discrimination, workplace harassment, and sexual harassment. In addition, the filing deadlines for legal claims are pretty stringent. You will never be able to file a lawsuit against your employer if the deadline is missed. The knowledgeable Philadelphia employment lawyer at Law Offices of Eric A. Shore can assist you with the following employment law issues:

  • Age Discrimination
  • Disability Discrimination
  • Hostile Workplace
  • Workplace Retaliation
  • Workplace Civil Rights
  • Whistleblower Retaliation
  • Unpaid Salary and Overtime

What is Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination at work occurs when an employer treats you unfavorably because of your age. Examples of discriminatory conduct consist of the following:

  • Dismissal
  • Refusal to promote or employ
  • Demotion
  • Salary or benefit disparity
  • Bullying or mistreatment
  • Unjustified discipline or occupational scrutiny

What Laws Forbid Age Discrimination in the Workplace?

Two statutes ban age discrimination in the workplace:

1. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and

2. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA).

Some cities and towns, such as Philadelphia, have anti-age discrimination legislation. The ADEA is enforced by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The PHRA is enforced by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC).

Who is Covered From Age Discrimination in the Workplace?

Only employees at least 40 years old are protected against age-based discrimination. Therefore, if you are under 40 years old, you cannot file a claim for age discrimination, even if you were discriminated against due to age. Independent contractors at least 40 years old are likewise protected from age discrimination under the PHRA. However, independent contractors are not covered by the ADEA.

How Do You Establish Age Discrimination in the Workplace?

Typically, to prove age discrimination in the job, you must demonstrate the following:

  • You are at least forty years of age
  • You met the requirements for the position you wanted or held
  • You were subject to a detrimental employment action (e.g., termination, demotion, pay cut, etc.)
  • A much younger employee replaced you, or other significantly younger workers received preferential treatment

Notably, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that you do not need to demonstrate that you were replaced by or treated worse than an employee under 40 years old. You need only show that you were replaced by or treated less favorably than a significantly younger employee. Once you provide evidence of these four (4) factors, your employer must demonstrate that its negative choice was not based on your age.

If and when your employer offers this information, the burden of proving that the supplied reason is untrue transfers back to you. It is difficult to determine and locate the evidence needed to show age discrimination. Our seasoned employment lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, can assist you in finding the proof necessary to substantiate your claim.

What is Disability Discrimination?

Disability discrimination on the job happens when an employer discriminates against a disabled employee. The obligation of your employer not to discriminate against you based on your disability relates to the following:

  • employment application processes
  • employment, promotion, or dismissal
  • salary and benefits
  • job training
  • additional employment terms, circumstances, and perks

In addition, your employer must offer you reasonable accommodation if it assists you in carrying out your essential job obligations. Your employer’s refusal to accommodate your disability is unlawful discrimination.

However, this is only true if the accommodation you request is “reasonable” and does not cause your employer “undue hardship.”

In addition, it is unlawful for your existing or potential employer to restrict, separate, or categorize you in ways that negatively impact your employment status or possibilities.

Discrimination Against Perceived Impairment

Your employer cannot, for instance, place you in a position without advancement prospects due to your impairment. Nor can your present or future employer discriminate against you based solely on your affiliation or relationship with a disabled individual.

Even if you do not have a handicap, it is illegal for your employer to discriminate against you based on your perceived impairment. Employment discrimination based on disability is a complicated subject of law. Even worse, many businesses are unaware of their legal obligations toward disabled workers.

If you suspect you are being discriminated against at work due to disability, you should contact our seasoned Philadelphia employment lawyer immediately.

What Laws Forbid Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?

At least two statutes prohibit disability discrimination in the workplace in Pennsylvania:

1. The federal law Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and

2. The state law Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA).

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforced the ADA. The PHRA is enforced by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC).

How is “Disability” Defined Under the Law?

The law defines a “disability” in three ways:

  • A physical or mental disability that seriously restricts one or more of the major life activities or primary bodily functions
  • A physical or mental disability that considerably restricts one or more of the major life activities or primary bodily functions
  • Having a physical or mental disability limiting one or more major life activities or primary bodily functions

Surprisingly, a physical or mental ailment need not continuously affect a significant life activity for it to be considered an impairment under the law. Occasionally, even periodic or intermittent disorders (such as epilepsy or depression) qualify as impairments. However, this is only the case if the primary life function is significantly weakened while the condition is present.

Does the Law Protect You From Disability-Related Workplace Harassment?

Both the ADA and the PHRA prohibit disability-based workplace harassment. To win such a claim, you must provide evidence of the following:

  • You have a disability and have experienced harassment due to that impairment.
  • The harassment was pervasive or severe.
  • The harassment harmed you badly.
  • The harassment would have adversely impacted a reasonable person in your situation.

If the harasser was a coworker, your employer knew or should have known about the harassment but took no action to prevent or rectify it.

If your supervisor was the harasser and the harassment resulted in your termination or demotion, your company is automatically accountable. Provided, however, your supervisor’s harassment did not result in your termination or demotion, your company will prevail if it can demonstrate the following:

  • It had in place procedures for preventing and redressing harassment or discrimination
  • You unreasonably neglected to follow these steps

How Do You Pursue a Legal Action for Disability Discrimination?

The ADA and the PHRA require victims of disability discrimination to submit a complaint with the EEOC or the PHRC before filing a lawsuit in court. The term for this is “exhausting administrative remedies.”

In Pennsylvania, if you submit a disability discrimination complaint with the EEOC, it will also be filed with the PHRC. The same holds if you file with the PHRC first. Although it is not necessary to have a lawyer to submit the complaint, retaining our seasoned employment lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, is essential to your success.

Wrongful Termination

Do you believe your employer fired, failed to hire, failed to promote, or otherwise took action against you because of your race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, or disability? Were you the victim of retaliation?

Hostile Work Environment

Is your workplace hostile to your well-being? Are you harassed at work because of your race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, or disability? Have you complained about the harassment, but your employer does nothing to help?

The following behaviors can contribute to a hostile work environment:

  • Bullying or harassment
  • Insults and derogatory labeling
  • Violence or threatening behavior
  • Offensive jokes or pranks
  • Offensive images, films, or drawings
  • Unjustified discipline or occupational scrutiny
  • Threats of disciplinary action or dismissal
  • Transfer to an undesirable position or workplace
  • Unwanted sexual advances

Retaliation

State and federal laws protect you against retaliation by your employer if you report unlawful discrimination or harassment. The law also covers you if you file a complaint of illegal discrimination or harassment on behalf of someone else. You may be entitled to compensation if you feel your employer retaliated against you for complaining about its discriminatory treatment of you or others.

Illegal retaliation in the workplace occurs when an employee is penalized for participating in legally protected activity. Among the examples of legally protected activities are:

  • Reporting unlawful discrimination based on race, gender, age, or disability to your employer or a government agency
  • Informing about sexual, racial, or other types of illegal harassment your employer or a government agency
  • Refusing to follow discriminatory supervisor directives that would constitute discrimination
  • Rejecting sexual approaches or acting to safeguard others
  • Working with a government agency investigating discrimination or harassment accusations
  • Requesting a religion or disability-related accommodation
  • Submitting a request for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Suppose your employer retaliates against you for participating in any of the abovementioned actions. In that case, it is likely to be unlawful. Employer retaliation is any action that would dissuade a reasonable person from engaging in a protected activity. Notably, the retaliatory action must be “materially adverse.” The following are examples of retaliatory conduct:

  • correction or disciplinary action
  • demotion or dismissal
  • shifting you to a position or place that is less prominent or desirable
  • verbal or physical maltreatment
  • heightened job scrutiny
  • adversely treating close friends or relatives (for example, by canceling a contract with your friend or family member)
  • creating a hostile work environment
  • making your performance on the job more challenging

Whether an action is significantly harmful depends on the unique facts and circumstances. Suppose you suspect you have been the victim of illegal retaliation at work. In that case, you should call our qualified Philadelphia employment lawyer immediately.

What Are the Laws That Forbid Workplace Retaliation?

The following acts imply that you are protected from retaliation if you exercise your rights under any of these laws or if you complain about your employer’s breach of these laws.

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII),
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 
  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA),
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and
  • Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) – enforced by Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC).

How Do You Prove Illegal Retaliation in the Workplace?

To establish unlawful retaliation, you must demonstrate that:

  • You participated in protected activity under Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, the FMLA, or the PHRA
  • Your employer has taken disciplinary action against you (e.g., termination, demotion, harassment, etc.)
  • Your protected behavior triggered your employer’s adverse action (also known as “causation”)

There are typically two methods to establish causation.

Circumstantial Evidence

You must demonstrate that your employer’s adverse action occurred quickly after participating in protected behavior. However, this data will only be helpful if nothing else happens to justify your employer’s unfavorable conduct. Generally, the interval between your protected behavior and your employer’s negative action must be shorter than six months.

Comparator evidence is an additional type of circumstantial evidence. Your company will frequently provide a misleading explanation for hostile action. Consequently, if your company did not pursue disciplinary action against other employees for the same reason, it offered you, this might constitute compelling circumstantial evidence. This evidence demonstrates that the employer’s cause for the negative action was not a valid reason. 

Direct Evidence

This type of proof is less prevalent and often consists of a statement from your employer stating that you are being disciplined for your protected behavior. Causality is the most challenging element to establish in an employment retaliation case. Our seasoned employment lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, will be able to determine if you have sufficient evidence to file a retaliation claim against your employer.

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may be entitled to compensation for violating your rights. For more information or to discuss any employment matter, contact the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore.

What are Workplace Civil Rights?

Under the US Constitution, you have specific rights about your job if you work for a government employer. These rights are in addition to those guaranteed by state and federal legislation. Here are a few simple illustrations:

  • Under the First Amendment, your public employer cannot retaliate against you for engaging in free speech or political action.
  • The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits public employers from discriminating against their employees based on race, color, ancestry, gender, disability, or religion.
  • If you are a union member who may only be terminated for “just cause,” the Fourteenth Amendment grants you the right to notice and a hearing before termination.
Philadelphia employment law attorney

What is Whistleblower Retaliation?

Government personnel is also guarded against retaliation for revealing waste or wrongdoing. Public interest is served by exposing government waste or corruption, and the law protects government employees who complain about it. If you were terminated or reprimanded for reporting about your public employer’s destruction or wrongdoing, call the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore to explore your legal options.

What are Unpaid Salary and Overtime?

State and federal regulations generally compel employers to pay minimum wage and overtime. Typically, overtime is regarded as every hour worked over 40 hours per week. Pennsylvania law also mandates that your company pay you all your salaries on your regularly scheduled paydays. In brief, you may have a legal claim if any of the following apply:

  • You earn less than the federal minimum wage.
  • Your overtime pay has been rejected.
  • Your employer denies payment for your services.

If you are in any of these scenarios, please call our professional Philadelphia employment lawyer to schedule a free consultation.

What Can You Do If Your Employer Denies to Give Your Earned Wage?

The Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL) requires your employer to pay you all earned wages and benefits (including overtime) on your regularly scheduled paydays. The WPCL does not create your right to wages (derived from your agreement with your employer or the Fair Labor Standards Act or Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act). Still, it provides a legal mechanism for recovering unpaid pay. 

Suppose your employer breaches the WPCL by withholding your earned pay and benefits. In that case, you can sue your employer to obtain the unpaid earnings plus 25% of the unpaid wages as “liquidated damages.” However, you can only claim “liquidated damages” if your employer withholds more than 30 days of your salary after your last regular paycheck.

What Constitutes Overtime Pay?

Under the United States and Pennsylvania law, most companies are obligated to provide overtime compensation to certain employees for every hour worked over forty (40) hours each week. Your company must pay you 1.5 times your average hourly wage for every hour of overtime you work (for example, your hourly wage).

What Statutes Regulate Overtime Pay?

There are two (2) laws that mandate overtime compensation for certain employees: the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (MWA). Regarding overtime compensation, both statutes are practically comparable and have equal standards.

Who is Eligible for Overtime Pay?

All employees are entitled to overtime compensation for all hours worked over 40 per week. However, the FLSA and MWA include three (3) key exceptions to this general rule:

Executive Exemption

For this exception to apply, you must:

  • Get a minimum yearly salary of $35,568
  • Have as your principal responsibility the management of your employer’s business or a component thereof
  • Supervise at least two full-time employees regularly
  • Having the authority to recruit and terminate staff

Examples of personnel who may qualify for this exemption include:

  • The Chief Executive Officer.
  • The director of human resources.
  • The department supervisor.
  • The office manager.

Administrative Exemption

To be eligible for this exemption, you must:

  • Get a minimum yearly salary of $35,568
  • Office or non-manual employment closely connected to your employer’s management or general business
  • Use discretion and independent judgment about “matters of significance.”

Academic advisers, insurance adjusters, and consultants are examples of personnel that may qualify for this exemption.

Professional Exemption

To qualify for this exemption, you must earn at least $35,568 annually and either:

  • Have as your principal responsibility a job requiring “advanced type” in a subject of science or learning often obtained through a protracted term of specialized training and study
  • Have as your major responsibility work that requires originality or creativity in a recognized creative sector

The personnel who may qualify for this exemption are attorneys, physicians, accountants, and actors.

Suppose you qualify for any of the exemptions above. In that case, neither the FLSA nor the MWA obliges your employer to pay you overtime. Determining whether you are an exempt employee is a challenging undertaking that involves a careful examination of your specific circumstances. If you suspect you have been misclassified under one of the exclusions above and are entitled to overtime compensation, you should immediately contact our seasoned employment lawyer in Philadelphia, PA.

Can You Take a Legal Action Against Your Employer If Overtime Pay is Not Paid?

The FLSA and the MWA permit you to sue your employer for failing to pay compensation. In addition, you can sue your employer for unpaid overtime under the WPCL. You must submit your FLSA claim within two (2) years of your employer’s refusal to pay overtime (three years if your employer willfully violated the law). You must submit your WPCL claim within three (3) years of your employer’s non-payment.

How Can Our Dedicated Philadelphia Employment Lawyer Help?

Suppose you are an employee who has been wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, or mistreated by your employer. In that case, our dedicated Philadelphia employment lawyer can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve. Using our years of legal experience, we know how to navigate the complex legal system and fight for your rights. It is essential to consult with us at the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore to ensure that your rights are protected.

Call a Reliable Employment Lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, Now!

Even though several laws and regulations preventing discrimination have been enacted, many employees are still subjected to it in the workplace. At the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore, we are committed to defending the rights and interests of employees whose employers have engaged in discrimination. We can assist you if you have been the victim of discrimination, Family and Medical Leave Act violations, or other employment law violations. 

You can contact our skilled Philadelphia employment lawyer to schedule a free consultation if your employment rights have been violated. During this discussion, we can learn more about your circumstance and explain how we may be able to assist you. Our knowledgeable employment lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, is well-versed in the several state and federal laws designed to safeguard employees. We can defend your rights under Title VII (prohibits discrimination), the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 

In addition, we deal with problems supervised by the federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). Contact the Law Offices of Eric A. Shore online or by phone today to book a free consultation.

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At the Law Offices of Eric Shore, our trusted and experienced attorneys can help you with different types of legal concerns. We can help you file a disability claim, seek compensation, or resolve labor and employment disputes. Our attorneys can help you resolve your legal issues and concerns. Schedule a consultation in any of our Philadelphia and New Jersey locations today!