Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly approved a measure last week to amend the state’s constitution, banning racial and ethnic discrimination. Supporters believe this amendment is necessary to inhibit Republican-appointed judges, including those on the U.S. Supreme Court, from challenging or overturning Pennsylvania’s anti-discrimination laws.
The measure, which received over 70% of the vote, states “[e]quality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of the race or ethnicity of the individual.” This language will be added to the state’s constitution’s equality provision that “all men are born equally free and independent.”
Experts believe it is unlikely the amendment will change the status quo because courts have already interpreted the U.S. Constitution and other state constitutions as banning discrimination. Additionally, federal and state anti-discrimination laws have been on the book for decades and courts have successfully upheld them.
For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1967 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Likewise, New Jersey has the Law Against Discrimination (N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et. seq.) and Pennsylvania has the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (P.L. 744). Both laws are there to ensure that individuals receive fair and equal treatment in the workplace.
McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. represents employees in all kinds of discrimination, retaliation and harassment cases. If you feel your employer has discriminated against you, our lawyers are here to help. Please call our office in Red Bank, New Jersey at 732-842-6500 or our Marlton, New Jersey office at 856-985-9800 to find out more.