Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
It can be very unsettling to experience harassment and discrimination because someone opposes your religious beliefs. Religious discrimination is one of the most insidious problems causing unfairness and inequity across the country. If you live in the diverse community of State College, PA, the last thing you probably expect is to find yourself without access to the opportunities you deserve.
However, this type of discrimination is more common than most people realize. There are various laws designed to protect against discriminatory actions. You can file a complaint in the Borough of State College and pursue your constitutionally protected rights. With the proper legal counsel, you can make educated decisions and file the appropriate causes of action.
Anyone who has suffered religious discrimination in State College will find exceptional legal services at the Law Office of Andrew Shubin. The Shubin office is known for having a team of principled lawyers who will fight for your rights and seek redress for your losses. The accomplished attorneys of Shubin Law have a successful track record of favorable outcomes. To learn more about your options, contact (814) 867-3115. We offer free and prompt consultations.
Filing a Religious Discrimination Claim in Pennsylvania
Religious discrimination can occur in a wide array of contexts. There are different laws designed to protect you depending on who discriminated against you and where it happened. For example, if you are discriminated at work, your initial step should be to file an administrative complaint with the EEOC or State College’s Human Relations Commission before pursuing your case in a court of law.
In other instances, such as when you are denied access to public housing or other publicly funded services, you can file your case directly with the local state or federal court if there is no requirement that your case must be reviewed by an administrative agency first. With the help of a qualified attorney, you can file your claim in the appropriate venue and design an effective strategy for your case.
State College Employment Discrimination Based on Religion
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (HRA) protects against religious discrimination. The PHRA applies to actions of public officials, such as those at a school or local agency. There are additional protections through the State College Anti-Discrimination Employment Ordinance covering all employers located in State College, PA.
This ordinance prohibits State College employers from refusing to hire, firing or discriminating in any way based on religion. According to Section 909 of State College’s Anti-Discrimination in Employment Ordinance, you may file a complaint with either the EEOC or State College. There are differences between an EEOC filing and a State College Human Relation complaint; your attorney can guide you as to which one would be appropriate before filing a lawsuit.
Federal Laws Against Religious Discrimination in Employment
Your religion shouldn’t be a factor influencing any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, layoffs, pay, promotions, training, and any other term of employment. Similarly, an employer cannot force employees to participate in a religious activity as a condition of employment.
Discrimination based on religion is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). Title VII and the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act (PHRA) have the same legal standards of analysis of the context of employment discrimination. Such claims can involve certain legal standards that your attorney can explain based on your circumstances.
Filing a Complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal agency in charge of enforcing laws designed to protect against religious discrimination. The EEOC can investigate charges of discrimination against employers covered by the federal laws. These employers are typically institutions that receive federal funds or that are federally regulated. The following are some of the ways the EEOC has found that religious discrimination occurs:
- Harassment: Aggressive or distressful actions against a co-worker based on religious beliefs can be so severe and hostile that it can rise to the level of harassment.
- Reasonable accommodations: It is illegal to refuse to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs and practices if they do not disrupt or create a burden on business operations.
- Segregation: Assigning an employee to a non-customer contact position based on customer preferences is an example of segregation.
To have a successful case, you must meet certain elements known in law as “prima facie case.” The following qualifications are the prima facie case for religious discrimination in employment:
- You must have the necessary employment qualifications
- You engaged in a “protected activity”
- Adverse employment action was imposed without justification
The requirements above are intended to establish that the employer’s animus was based on the rejection of your religious beliefs and that it played a determinative role in the employment decision. It’s an impermissible purpose to make decisions based on a rejection of someone’s religious views.
Deadline for Filing a Religious Discrimination Lawsuit at Penn State
Pennsylvania has a strict time limit of two years for filing civil rights lawsuits for constitutional violations. Also, PHRA claims must be submitted approximately six months from the act of discrimination, and EEOC claims about ten months after the act of discrimination. You can file a complaint with the State College Human Relations Commission within 180 days of the alleged act of discrimination.
Call Your State College, PA Religious Discrimination Attorney
If you or someone you know has been denied access to services and opportunities based on religious beliefs, contact the law office of Andrew Shubin for a consultation today. Time is of the essence given Pennsylvania’s strict time limits. Call our State College-based office at (814) 867-3115.