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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How Do You Prove Race Discrimination in Pennsylvania?

Philadelphia Employment Attorney Serving Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County and Center City

Race discrimination is, unfortunately, still a fact of life in corporate America.  Proving race discrimination, however, is very difficult. In general, the things needed to establish a basis for an race discrimination case are as follows: The employee is non-caucasian and was fired because of his/her race. That sounds simple enough, but a lot of non-caucasians are terminated for reasons other than discrimination because of race. So what do employment lawyers look for in selecting race discrimination cases? Since we often handle race claims on a contingent fee basis (no attorney fees are owed unless you win), race discrimination attorneys are very careful in choosing cases to pursue. Below are some hallmarks of the "ideal" race discrimination case.

John A. Gallagher is an Experienced Discrimination Attorney Who Has Litigated Race Discrimination Cases on a Contingent Fee Basis Since 1991

Since it is hard to prove that the same person that hired you and later fired you is a racist (why would they hire you if they were a racist, the thinking goes), we typically look for a change in supervisor/manager within the last months leading up to termination.  Such a change is often, in good cases, accompanied by a sudden change in the way the employee is perceived (e.g. an employee with a good work history suddenly receives a poor performance review, is put on a performance improvement plan, is subject tobogus discipline, etc.) Another key piece of evidence is disparate treatment - that is, two employees in similar jobs who differ only because of their race are treated differently under similar job-related circumstances.  Sometimes, particularly with persons on Middle-Eastern descent (but less likely for Hispanics, African Americans and Asians), comments clearly indicating racial stereotyping will be made in the workplace.  We also look for a disparity within management between caucasians and non-caucasians (i.e. while the workforce is largely non-caucasian, management is almost all caucasian).

The Gallagher Law Group Focuses Almost Exclusively on Helping Individuals Who Are Having Problems at Work in Communities Such as Malvern, Paoli, Frazer, Downingtown, Phoenixville, Norristown, Oaks, Pottstown, Lansdale, Blue Bell, Doylestown, Reading and Surrounding Communities

The most difficult aspect of proving discrimination is proving that it arose from intentional acts designed to disenfranchise the employee.  Merely proving that the employer's stated reasons for discipline, demotion and/or termiation were wrong is not enough.  You need to prove that the employer knew the stated reasons were wrong.  Since this is so difficult, the strongest discrimination cases usually contain an element of retaliation.  That is why we tell our clients to complain to management if they feel they are being treated in a discriminatory fashion.  It is much easier to prove one was fired because he/she complained to management about discriminatory treatment than to prove that he/she was fired because of the the color of their skin, or their their accent or their religion.

If you want to learn more about any of the concepts discussed herein, use the Search Bar in the upper right hand part of this Blog. Chances are, I have blogged on the issue before. If you would like to reach us, please call 610-647-5027 or e-mail me directly.

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