Philadelphia Employment Law Attorney Q&A: What If I am Wrongfully Accused of Discrimination?

Answer: An Employee Must Demonstrate Evidence of Discrimination

In order for an employee to prove illegal discrimination by his or her employer, the employee must show two things:

  1. That there was discrimination or a discriminatory practice.
  2. That this discrimination was against a protected class.

Protected classes under federal and Pennsylvania state law  include the following:

  • Age (over 40)
  • Sex
  • Race or color
  • National origin
  • Ancestry
  • Religious creed
  • Disability or handicap
  • Genetic information
  • Sexual orientation (in some locations)

Discriminatory practices can include discrimination in:

  • Hiring and firing
  • Compensation
  • Assignment
  • Classification
  • Discipline
  • Transfer, promotion, or layoff
  • Job advertisements or recruitment
  • Job testing or training
  • Benefits
  • Any other terms and conditions of employment
  • Retaliation for filing a complaint of discrimination

Employers have the right to make decisions regarding the above issues, as long as they do not discriminate in making these decisions.  For example, an employer may fire an at-will employee without cause, as long as the firing wasn’t driven by discrimination.

What Can Happen in a Worst-Case Discrimination Scenario?

Generally, the employee alleging discrimination files a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a state agency, such as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (HRC) office.  The agency investigates the claims of the employee to determine whether there is evidence of discrimination and attempts to resolve the issue. If the parties cannot resolve the issue, either the EEOC or state agency (if it finds discrimination) or the employee may bring a employment discrimination lawsuit in federal or state court.  The employee could obtain a judgment for his or her damages, which may include the following:

  • Back pay
  • Front pay
  • Hiring or reinstatement
  • Promotion
  • Reasonable accommodation
  • Attorney and expert witness fees
  • Court costs
  • Punitive damages for intentional discrimination

When To Contact An Attorney

Employees in the Philadelphia area who believe they have been discriminated against should contact a Philadelphia employment lawyer as soon as possible.  Employees should never quit their job prior to getting legal advice; frequently, quitting will make it impossible to pursue their discrimination claims. In order to minimize serious consequences, employers and management should seek immediate legal assistance when facing accusations of employment discrimination by an employee.  An accused employer should never retaliate against an employee for alleging discrimination, including, but not limited, retaliation by firing, transferring, or harassing the employee. The best way a Philadelphia area employer can protect their company from accusations of discrimination is to contact a Philadelphia employment lawyer. A qualified attorney can investigate claims, advise the employer on how to handle such claims, and help develop a comprehensive employment manual, company practices, and provide management training to ensure that their client’s business practices conform to all applicable federal and state laws.

Contact the Philadelphia Employment Lawyers of the Ezold Law Firm, P.C. Today

The Ezold Law Firm, P.C. is an employment law and litigation firm practicing in the areas of employment law, business and corporate law, and health care law.  The firm’s Philadelphia discrimination attorneys assist both employees and employers in a wide range of labor law cases. For assistance with discrimination defense, contact the Ezold Law Firm, P.C. today. Call us at (610) 660-5585 or contact us online.