Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach proposed a bill in late March that would ban employment discrimination based on an applicant’s marital or familial status.
Profiling based on marital or parental status occurs when potential employers ask job applicants if they have children, plan to have children, or are married. Leach contends that all too often, a qualified applicant makes it to the final stages of the hiring process, only to be asked if they have children. If the answer is yes, the job suddenly goes to somebody else.
Leach added, “Some employers are concerned that a person with children will be distracted from their work, while others object to the marital status of a woman. Neither of these concerns is relevant to a person’s qualifications or potential ability to do the job. This disparate treatment is a relic of a more discriminatory past. It may have been acceptable during the era of ‘Mad Men,’ but it is not acceptable now.”
Similar laws have been passed in 17 states around the country, including New Jersey, New York and Delaware, and those laws effectively make it illegal to ask whether an applicant is married or if they have children.
Employment discrimination exists when an employee is treated unfairly at work as a result of his or her membership in a protected class. Specifically, federal laws prohibit an employer from harassing employees or taking any “adverse employment action” against them because of their race, ethnicity, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability, or pregnancy. And as states begin to add more and more protections, it is vital that as an employee, you stay informed. If you or a loved one have experienced unfair treatment by an employer, contact an experienced employment attorney. A skilled employment attorney will afford you the representation you deserve and ensure your legal rights are protected.