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Philadelphia Racial Discrimination

Philadelphia Attorneys Experienced in Employment Discrimination Claims

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania. Non-Hispanic Black people comprise 42% of the city's population, and the percentage is slightly greater if Hispanic Blacks are included. As of the 2010 census, there were close to 200,000 Latinos and Hispanic people in Philadelphia. When you go to work, you hope and trust that you will be evaluated according to your job performance. Similarly, when you first interview for a job, you hope that the employer is interested in your skills and your achievements, instead of the color of your skin or your phenotype. Unfortunately, workplace racial discrimination sometimes persists, even though it is prohibited by federal and state laws. The Philadelphia racial discrimination lawyers at the Arcé Law Group can help you bring a claim if you have been subjected to this behavior.

Common Forms of Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination can occur in the context of any adverse employment action, including those pertaining to hiring, firing, training, pay, and promotions of employees, as well as harassment. For example, it would be racial discrimination for an employer to terminate your employment contract because you are Black. Similarly, it would be racial discrimination for an employer to decline to promote you because you are Latino. However, sometimes a facially neutral policy constitutes racial discrimination because it involves a disparate impact on people of a particular racial group, rather than because it involves disparate treatment.

Racial discrimination in Philadelphia workplaces with at least 15 employees is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In contrast, Pennsylvania's anti-discrimination law, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, covers employers that have at least four workers. In other words, if your employer has about 10 workers, you can sue for remedies under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, but you have no relief under Title VII.

Although there are similarities between the Pennsylvania law and Title VII, it is important to consult a racial discrimination attorney in Philadelphia about your particular circumstances. There are important differences between these laws. You can file a dual discrimination complaint, but you need to meet the state deadline to do so.

If you are pursuing Title VII relief for racial discrimination, you will need to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which investigates charges of discrimination and retaliation under federal laws and enforces Title VII. You will need to file the charge of racial discrimination within 300 days of the acts giving rise to your claim, or you will be barred from pursuing charges with the EEOC or filing a federal lawsuit in court.

The Human Relations Commission investigates charges and enforces state anti-discrimination law. Unlike with some other states, you need to file a timely charge with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, or you will lose your ability to pursue relief in court. Your complaint describing the facts that constituted racial discrimination needs to be filed within 180 days of the first such act. Our Philadelphia racial discrimination attorneys can assist you with this process. If you fail to meet the 180-day deadline, you will be considered to have failed to exhaust your administrative remedies, which means that you will be foreclosed from pursuing claims under the state law with the Commission or in state court.

If you first file with the state Commission, you will need to wait a full year before you can sue in state court. However, if you first file with the EEOC, you may be able to sue in federal court six months after bringing the charge. Additionally, the EEOC may conduct a voluntary mediation or settlement conference. In contrast, there will be a mandatory fact-finding conference with the state Commission.

You may feel uncomfortable about pursuing relief. You may be worried that your employer will try to punish you for complaining about racial discrimination. However, retaliation is prohibited under both federal and state laws. Retaliation occurs if your employer takes an adverse employment action against you because you complained about conduct that you believed violated Title VII or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

Discuss Your Situation with a Racial Discrimination Lawyer in Philadelphia

If you have experienced employment discrimination based on your race, the Arcé Law Group is ready to help you explore your options and assert your rights. Contact us at 212-248-0120 or via our online form.

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