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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manes

Geologist Discrimination

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Uncovering Employment Discrimination in Geology

Geologists study the history of the earth, and while it’s okay for them to discriminate between rocks and time periods, geologists should not face employment discrimination based on their legally protected class status. When a workplace is free of discrimination, workers are better able to do their jobs. Workplace discrimination often boils down to unconscious bias or prejudice, but that does not excuse behavior.

If you believe that you’ve experienced geologist employment discrimination, reach out to a lawyer today to find out your legal options.

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What Does Geologist Employment Discrimination Look Like?

No matter what type of geology that you may work in, whether a geohydrologist, an engineering geologist, geophysicist, or some other role, symptoms of employment discrimination are the same. Despite having a society more aware of discrimination than ever, subtle discrimination is the true danger now. Therefore, geologists need to know their employee rights to accurately recognize when discrimination is occurring.

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Quick Question to Spot Discrimination

  1. Is there a pattern of behavior, revealing favoritism?

  2. Do white employees receive better assignments?

  3. Are assignments given based on gender?

  4. Does the boss use derogatory terms towards you due to your race, gender, or religion?

  5. Do others receive preferential treatment while you’re ignored?

Although these questions don’t cover all the situations, they might help reveal a pattern of discriminatory behavior against you due to your legally protected class status. Employment discrimination is illegal when based on gender, race, nationality, color, religion, or age. Geologists who face discrimination should endeavor to fight for their employee rights.

Geologist Discrimination Situations

Another way to learn how to better recognize discriminatory situations within geology is to learn from situations that other people have experienced. Employment discrimination is not new. And it happens in every industry. Speaking up about discrimination is not nagging or inappropriate. In fact, challenging geologist discrimination can help change our world for the better.

Gender Discrimination

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Geology was another male-dominated field until Florence Bascom followed her love for learning and became a geologist despite gender bias and being the only woman in the classroom and then in the field. Although women today don’t deal with the same type of treatment that Florence Bascom did, women still face unconscious bias and subtle discrimination. And sometimes, fighting discrimination feels like it’s only playing into the patriarchal view of women. To help improve the world for our children, female geologists need to challenge discrimination.

Angela landed an entry level position with a corporation that specialized in drilling and well planning. On her first day, her geologist supervisor looked right through her and only addressed the other new male hire. When projects were assigned, the supervisor told Angela that the project location was too dirty for women so he continually gave her desk work. While the male hire was outfitted in company gear, Angela never even received the company water bottle. This behavior could very well be gender discrimination.

Religious Discrimination

The law specifies the importance that employers not treat employees differently due to their religion. In fact, the law goes so far as to obligate businesses to make certain accommodations for religious geologists that might need to wear a head covering, despite company dress code, or take prayer breaks. When someone believes that they have experienced negative employment action due to their religion, they might have a case under the law.

In June 2017, Andrew Snelling, a Christian geologist, filed a lawsuit against the National Park Services (NPS). The Australian shares how he requested permission to collect samples from four locations in the Grand Canyon, but his request was denied. Andrew Snelling believed the denial came because his plan for the samples was to run tests that might support his belief in Creationism and a young earth. He claimed religious discrimination occurred. Snelling dropped his lawsuit when NPS approved a permit for him and offered experienced NPS staff to help him with the project. (Snelling v. United States Department of Interior, et al., 2017)

Age Discrimination

When Can An Employer Sue An Employee?

Age discrimination is illegal, and anyone older than 40 is protected by the law from age discrimination. Key symptoms of age discrimination is language and behavior. When a supervisor uses or allows others to use derogatory names for an older employee, such as “old man,” “grams,” or “old timer,” this shows the existence of age discrimination. Further actions could warrant a lawsuit.

Ed celebrated his 30th anniversary as a geologist with the same company. After the cake was sliced, a new supervisor asked Ed when he planned to retire. Ed laughed and assured everyone that they’d be here celebrating his 40th anniversary. A week later, Ed fell and sustained a leg injury that required him to use a crutch and have some accommodations. While at an off-site project, Ed’s supervisor said to him, “I bet you wish you’d retired now.” In the weeks following, Ed noticed that assignments were given to younger workers and he was routinely looked over. And then, the company terminated him without reason. Ed suspects age and disability discrimination.

Race Discrimination

Race discrimination has been the root of many problems in the United States since the very inception of this nation. And the problem continues to show up. Minority geologists deal with discrimination and must learn how to navigate their work while challenging ongoing negative behavior.

Ashkii entered the field of geology because of his Native American heritage. He wanted to honor the earth by learning about it and helping humans to use it wisely. During group meetings, Ashkii sometimes became passionate and his coworkers would joke, “Put away the tomahawk.” Ashkii noticed that his boss stopped assigning him to field projects and he was routinely assigned to desk work. When Ashkii asked about it, his boss shrugged the question off. But then, Ashkii heard a coworker in the hallway talking about him. Ashkii might have the grounds to sue for hostile work environment.

Penn Wynne Discrimination Attorney

Sue Your Boss for Geologist Discrimination

The law clearly states that the discrimination of legally protected classes in employment is illegal. Employers that participate in or allow discrimination in the workplace could face discrimination lawsuits. Whether a female geologist or a minority geologist, the law outlines a process for filing a lawsuit against your employer. Since the process can be long and involved, contact a lawyer to validate your claim and to carry your case to a favorable outcome.

Legally Protected Classes

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  1. Race

  2. Color

  3. Religion

  4. Sex (including pregnancy)

  5. National origin

  6. Age (40 or older)

  7. Disability

  8. Genetic information

Discrimination Laws

  1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)

  2. Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)

  3. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

  4. Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

  5. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ensures that employers follow through on the federal law. It does this by creating a hierarchical system of regions, counties, and areas. Before filing a lawsuit, a complaint must be filed often through the EEOC for investigation. However, in Pennsylvania, discrimination cases can be handled at state level by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). The PHRC enforces the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), which prohibits employment discrimination.

File a Complaint

When filing a complaint against your company, be sure to consider filing with both the EEOC and the PHRC. Once processed, the commissions will investigate your complaint and try to land on a solution to the problem. If the complaint is dismissed or you receive the Right to Sue letter, you must file your lawsuit within 90 days. A lawyer is an essential part of the process to receive a favorable outcome.

Consult an Employment Discrimination Attorney

After trying to resolve the discrimination through in-house means, reach out to a lawyer for your legal options. At this point, a lawyer recognizes the best options available for your situation and can guide you through the entire legal process. If you are unsure if your situation fits a discrimination case, consult a KM&A lawyer for free.

If you have experienced employment discrimination as a geologist, contact an employment discrimination lawyer who will know how to navigate your case and your rights under the law.

Don’t hesitate, talk to an attorney: (412) 626-5626 or

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