Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Colleges and universities may teach about equality, but they are not always known for enforcing equality in employment policies and procedures. Recently the Penn State University’s Daily Collegian published a letter to the editor exposing the serious problems related to discrimination at the departmental level of Pennsylvania State University.
If you or someone you love suffered or is presently suffering as a result of employment discrimination, contact attorney Andrew Shubin for a private and free legal consultation. Our skilled legal team is known for aggressive, result-driven legal representation. Call (814) 867-3115 so that we can begin to discuss your options and the best course of action to protect your future.
Overview of Employment Discrimination at Penn State
Penn State University is a public university. As such, it has a strict obligation to prevent discrimination. However, the way that Penn State conducts reviews of university professors has been under scrutiny for bias due to concerns over a pervasive culture of inequality. This culture is creating serious hurdles and hurting the careers of many Penn State academics. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) recently sent representatives to address problems related to discrimination in the hiring, firing, and retention practices of professors.
Many Penn State professors describe the climate at Penn State as “hostile,” and there is a concern shared by many that the employment policies are not neutral. Bias and misconceptions are known to affect performance reviews and departmental tenure. Various forms of discrimination are known to negate objectivity, such as:
- Racial bias
- Gender and sexuality biases
- Personal relationships and marital status
- National origin prejudice
- Unequal pay
Discrimination is often an underreported situation. If you or someone you know at Penn State has been discriminated against, contact our attorneys for a legal consultation.
State College Anti-Discrimination Laws
Employment discrimination can take many forms. Depending on the type of discrimination you’re facing, you can seek protection under federal law, state law, or both. There are laws designed to protect you against employment discrimination on the basis of your age, gender, national origin, or race. There are wider levels of protections under state laws as provided by:
- The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, which prohibits discrimination because of color, race., age, religious creed, ancestry or national origin by employers, employment agencies, or labor organizations.
- The Anti-Discrimination in Employment Ordinance
There are additional protections available at the federal level. These laws include:
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects against age discrimination toward anyone over 49 years old.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits workplace discrimination because of race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy) and religion.
- The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination because of mental or physical impairment and directs employers to provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities.
- National Origin Discrimination Under Section 1981
- Discrimination after serving in the military
Common Employment Discrimination Practices at Colleges
Universities are known for sheltering all sorts of subtle discrimination, often where everyone knows there is a problem with policies and procedures that appear neutral. The law prohibits these situations in recognition of the fact that discrimination has many faces but typically has devastating consequences on one particular group or class.
Double Standards Regarding Tenure
Employment discrimination is hardly a written or stated policy. When professors who are women or minorities are consistently denied tenure while counterparts with lesser qualifications are chosen, there is a clear sign of discrimination. Frequently academics who work hard for years at a university to meet all the qualifications for tenure are rejected for a subjective reason that wasn’t emphasized or even mentioned through the process, which can establish the basis for a discrimination claim. Universities are bound to institute and enforce objective performance qualifications.
Discrimination in salary decisions is prohibited. Although some employers may have justification for salary reductions, when a university decides to reduce a salary without justification, then bias and discrimination concerns are warranted. Professors rely on the university to pay and are entitled to due process before a salary cut is imposed.
Sexual, Gender, and National Origin Discrimination
Universities cannot make decisions based on a professor’s gender or national origin. Universities are notorious for having glass ceilings and for creating policies that tend to impact one group more than another. Universities are also notorious for creating barriers against academics on the basis of their national origin.
In addition, workplace harassment can occur in subtle ways in academia. If someone makes comments about your accent or appearance, that can constitute workplace harassment on the basis of your national origin.
Discrimination on the Basis of Political Beliefs
Being too politically liberal or conservative can lead to discrimination in academia. Typically, there is a defining political environment in a university. According to a 2014 report by the Higher Education Research Institute, liberal professors outnumber conservative professors 5 to 1. While this may not be entirely the case at Penn State University, if you are concerned that political beliefs influenced Penn State’s employment decisions in your case, you should talk to an attorney.
Call Your Trustworthy Penn State Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Shubin Law is known throughout State College for its successful and aggressive legal representation in the Sandusky case. Our attorneys are keenly familiar with the unethical and underhanded practices university officials and administrators use to cover up their misdeeds. Our fees are only incurred once we achieve results in your favor. We are prepared to protect your rights and seek compensation for your losses against Penn State University. Contact us at (814) 867-3115 to schedule your free consultation.