If you’re like most Americans, you will spend at least one third of your life at work. You deserve to be treated fairly. If your employer is subjecting you to harassment, discrimination, retaliation, unpaid or incorrect wages or any other unfair treatment, contact us. At O’Brien Law, we can help you navigate the complex laws and regulations that protect good employees from bad employers.
Race and National Origin Discrimination
The law protects all employees from discrimination based on their race, national origin or association with a person of a particular race or national origin. Discrimination means treating an employee differently in the terms or conditions of their employment and can include harassment, refusal to hire, refusal to promote, unfair discipline and wrongful termination.
Employers may not discriminate based on sex. This prohibition applies to discrimination against men or women because they do not conform to gender stereotypes. Pregnancy discrimination is a prohibited form of sex discrimination, as is paying men more than women for similar work. Sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are also prohibited sex discrimination.
The law protects older employees. If you are over 40 years old, your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you in favor of younger employees. This is true even if the younger employee is over 40. If you think your employer has terminated you, denied you benefits or refused to promote you because of your age, we can help you understand your rights.
Employers may not discriminate against employees because of their sincerely held religious beliefs and must accommodate those beliefs when it is reasonable to do so.
Military Service Discrimination
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) is a federal statute that protects uniformed service members. USERRA Prohibits employment discrimination because of past, current or future military service. It also protects uniformed services members’ employment and benefits while they are deployed.
Pennsylvania law protects any “public” employee who makes a good faith report of waste, fraud or abuse. Public employees include employees of state or municipal governmental bodies and organizations that receive government funding.
Nearly every statute that protects employees from discrimination also prohibits retaliation against employees who assert their rights or who oppose unlawful conduct.
The law protects disabled employees. Your employer is not allowed to discriminate against you because of your actual or perceived physical or mental impairment. In addition, if you are disabled but can perform the main duties of your job with a reasonable accommodation, your employer must give you an accommodation. Examples of reasonable accommodations can include job restructuring; part-time or modified work schedules; acquiring or modifying equipment; altering tests, training materials, or policies; and providing qualified readers or interpreters. No one should be denied a job they are qualified for simply because of a physical or mental impairment. If this has happened to you, contact us.
The law requires that employers pay their employees a minimum wage including time-and-a-half for overtime hours. Employees who are not paid the wages they were promised, not paid for every hour they worked, not paid a minimum wage or not paid properly for overtime work may be entitled to recover double the wages they are owed.
Government employment brings additional protections and additional challenges. Constitutional guarantees such as due process, freedom of speech and the right to privacy protect government employees. However, complex rules limit how the government can be sued and what an injured government employee can recover. We have decades of experience helping government employees navigate these rules to avoid pitfalls and maximize their recovery.
The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles certain employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for their own serious medical condition, to care for a close family member or for the birth or adoption of a child. Although this leave is not paid, the employee’s job must be protected until the employee returns to work. Employers may also be required to grant unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation for a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act even if the employee does not qualify for FMLA leave.