Philadelphia Employment Law News

EEOC: Top Five Employment Claims Sued Over in Pennsylvania

Thanks to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s trend towards transparency, the statistics for types of discrimination charges and origins of charges have been released in a handy searchable format for each state and territory in the Unites States.

Pennsylvania’s numbers fluctuated quite a bit over the three years available. In 2009, there were 3,448 complaints, or 3.7% of the total complaints in the United States. In 2010, the number shot up to 4,708, or 4.7%. In 2011, it dropped to 4,302 but was still 4.3% of the country’s total.

For the most recent year, these are the five most popular claims. Because some litigants claim multiple forms of discrimination, there may be people who are in multiple categories.

Retaliation (All forms) - 37.2%

Retaliatory claims stem from someone being fired, demoted, or punished for reporting illegal activities, cooperating in an investigation, or making allegations of sexual harassment. It is illegal to punish someone for whistleblowing or making allegations in good faith.

A perfect example of a retaliation claim is Mike McQueary's planned lawsuit against Penn State for putting him on administrative leave following his participation in the Sandusky investigation.

Disability - 31.1%

In regards to disability, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees that are disabled but still able to perform the essential functions of the job. They are also required to allow leave for those that need temporary time off from their job.

An example of disability discrimination was the case that expanded disability protections to the severely obese.

Sex and Gender - 30.0%

Sex and gender discrimination is providing favorable or unfavorable treatment in regards to pay, promotions, or other work-related decisions to someone based on their biological sex or gender.

Our recent coverage of Mia Macy, the woman who was allegedly denied a position at the ATF Bureau Office in San Francisco due to her transgender status, is an example of a recent development in gender discrimination law.

Race - 27.4%

Race based discrimination covers more than outright discrimination against someone due to their race. It also covers actions and policies that have a "disparate impact" on certain racial groups.

An example of this type of situation would the EEOC versus Pepsi story that we covered last month. In that case, Pepsi's use of background checks on all employees had a disparate impact on minority candidates, who were more likely to have a record. As a result, the EEOC has now discouraged the use of background checks unless they are necessary and relevant to the position.

Age - 27.3%

Finally, the fifth most common form of discrimination claim was age discrimination. These cases include forced retirement due to age or firing due to age. It can also include other employment decisions, such as hiring and promotions. The ADEA protects those who are at least 40 years old.

A case that we covered, the Asian World of Martial Arts settlement, is a prime example of this type of discrimination. Their policy required mandatory retirement for those over the age of 67.

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