Andrew Abramson of Abramson Employment Law is a Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyer who represents employees in many areas of employment law. The term, employment discrimination means to treat an employee differently or less favorably because of the employee’s age, religion, race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), disability or age (if the employee is 40 years of age or older). Employment discrimination may take many forms such as the termination of employment, unfair treatment at the workplace, harassment, refusal to provide a necessary reasonable accommodation, or retaliation because an employee made a good faith complaint that the employee was being discriminated against, or because the employee assisted another employee in an employment discrimination related proceeding.
An experienced employment discrimination attorney will frequently represent clients who are discriminated against at the workplace when their employment is terminated, or other adverse action is taken for pretextual reasons and the underlying reason for the employer’s action is protected by employment discrimination laws. For instance, employers are prohibited from terminating an employee based on the employers’ age, disability, sex, race, religion, national origin or the fact that the employee is pregnant. Employment discrimination laws recognize that direct evidence of discrimination is not always present and therefore an employee may be able to prove employment discrimination based on what the law refers to as indirect evidence. Federal and state discrimination laws also prohibit retaliation against an employee, which in the context of employment discrimination law is defined as action taken against an employee who makes a good faith report of discrimination. We also represent employees who suffer sexually harassment at the workplace, which can take many different forms.
Clients frequently ask how can an employee prove employment discrimination when the employer never said that the reason that the employee was being terminated was due to some protected criteria, such as the employee’s race, sex, national origin, or age. The answer is that most employment laws permit the employee to use indirect evidence of discrimination to prove a case. In assessing indirect evidence, many federal and Pennsylvania laws follow the analytical model established by the United States Supreme Court in McDonnell Douglas Corporation v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802 (1973), in order to determine if an employee’s case can proceed to trial with indirect or circumstantial evidence. Under this burden shifting model, the employee must first establish a prima facie case of discrimination by showing that: (i) the employee is a member of a protected class; (ii) the employee was qualified for the job at issue; (iii) the employee suffered what the law deems an adverse employment action; and (iv) the presence of circumstances that gave rise to an inference of discrimination, such as an employee being replaced by a new employee outside of a protected class, or similarly situated employees who were not treated in the same way as the employee. In other words, the victim of employment discrimination presents some form of evidence that another similarly situated employee who did the same thing was not terminated. If this test is met, then the burden shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its action. If the employer offers such a reason, then the employee must demonstrate that the proffered reason for termination was pretextual. An employee can satisfy this test by pointing to evidence that establishes doubt about the proffered reason that would allow a jury to believe that instead, an invidious discriminatory reason was the true reason for the employer's action. If each of these criteria are met, then employment discrimination may be inferred and the employee can prevail at a jury trial.
An experienced Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyer will be able to evaluate the facts of an employee’s potential case and determine if there is viable basis for the employee to proceed with an employment discrimination case.