House Democrats are working to make sure all Pennsylvanians enjoy a workplace free of discrimination
There’s no place in our society for discrimination -- it's especially inexcusable in the workplace because that's where we all must go to make a living and support our families. House Democrats are working to end discrimition in the workplace. A new package of reforms would strenthen protections for workers, provide new legal options for victims and hold those who are responsible accountable for their actions. Our plan includes:
Protecting all workers from discrimination
Every worker should be protected from discrimination in the workplace, regardless of the size of the employer or the type of their job. Today, these protections are only given to those who work for an employer with at least four employees. The state should pass a law to reduce the threshold to one employee and extend protections to independent contractors, interns, full-time nannies, housekeepers and other domestic workers.
Too often, supervisors and employees are not adequately informed or trained to identify and address harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The state should conduct a thorough assessment and set laws to require anti-discrimination and harassment training for employees and supervisors, as well as display discrimination and harassment protection rights in the workplace.
PA Fairness Act
It is still legal in Pennsylvania to discriminate in the workplace based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Legislation has been introduced in the past several sessions to prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. It’s time for PA to make it law.
Extending statute of limitations and remedies
Victims and whistleblowers are often afraid to come forward. To encourage reporting, the amount of time victims have to file a discrimination or whistleblower complaint should be extended from the 180 days (now) to two years. Victims and whistleblowers also should have the option for a jury to hear their case in state court, seek punitive damages in workplace discrimination cases and have their legal fees paid by the wrongdoer.
Standards for Lobbyists
Lobbyists, who are often at the Capitol meeting with staff, lawmakers and the public, should go through training for ethics and discrimination to ensure protections for everyone who works in and visits our state Capitol.