If you were fired or demoted and you believe the reason had anything to do with your race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or because of a disability. Find out from our award-winning employment discrimination lawyers if you lost your job or were disciplined at work, learn your legal options today, share what happened now to find out how to:
- Put the employment laws to work for you
- Get a top-rated employment attorney review, no obligation
- Ensure you are treated with the dignity and respect you deserve
Federal laws to protect employees from discrimination have been in place for more than 50 years now, but the practice is still common. Every year, Americans lose their jobs or are passed over for promotions based on their race, sex, religion, color, or a number of other factors covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Employers may knowingly, or unknowingly violate the federal guidelines - either way, when their actions are unlawful, an employment law firm can help.
More employees are aware of their protections under this employment laws today than ever before, however, employers have become more savvy about hiding their discriminatory behavior. While this does make it harder to prove, many viable claims are still filed each year. But who does the federal EEOC employment discrimination laws protect, and when was your employer's action unfair but not illegal?
The federal laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace protect workers from being disciplined or fired based on the following protected classes:
- Sex / Gender
- National Origin
- Sexual Orientation
- Serious Health Problems
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Reporting Illegal Activities (Whistleblower)
This doesn't mean you can't be demoted, fired or disciplined for any number of other good, bad or unfair reasons -- it only becomes illegal in an "at-will" state if your employer does so in-part because you are a member of any of the above protected groups. If you were terminated because of poor job performance, or even for a number of reasons you feel were unfair, but not protected, it may be wrong of your boss to do so but not illegal. If you are unsure if you are among a protected group or whether the employer bias you suffered qualifies, your EEOC lawyer will be able to answer your questions.
For more information, follow the links if you lost your job or were disciplined at work because of national origin, pregnancy or a serious health condition request for leave or because you complained about illegal workplace activities (whistleblower).
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, enacted in 1964, made it illegal to discriminate against employees based on their color, national origin, race, religion or sex. Further expansion of the law now also includes those age 40 or over, those who are disabled, union members and pregnant women as protected groups.
Every state also has its own labor laws, which, at a minimum, offer protection to all of these groups. Some also cover additional groups. This commonly includes sexual preference and marital status, or expand the definition of disability to cover more employees. If you have employment discrimination questions, share what happened to get a free discrimination case review from our award-winning labor lawyer today.
If you weren't hired or lost your job simply because you were a member of a protected group, it is probably pretty obvious to you that this was a discriminatory act..
Other violations, though, may not be as obvious...
Receiving less pay for the same work as another employee who isn't in the protected group can also a type of discrimination. Any time an employee is treated differently than other employees based solely on their membership in a protected group, employer discrimination has occurred.
Being discriminated against can leave you feeling frustrated, angry, humiliated or worse. The best eeoc lawyers know it's about more than just your job. The mistreatment can result in lost income, emotional distress and missed career opportunities. The good news is, you are among a protected class, you don't need to put up with it - you have legal rights and your attorney will be able to help put the workplace discrimination laws to work for you.
As previously mentioned, savvy employers often try to mask their discriminatory practices, making them very difficult to prove. Gathering sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim is often the most challenging part of the case, though a skilled employment attorney can usually ferret out the truth when illegal activity has occurred.
Of course, having direct evidence is the best case scenario for proving a discrimination claim. Document everything. A discrimination lawsuit will require evidence to back up your claims. This includes direct statements by the supervisor that you are being terminated or not receiving a promotion because of your status as a member of a protected class. Verbal statements are most common, although some managers who are not well-versed in legal human resources practices may actually write these statements on termination paperwork. Other places direct evidence is often found is in e-mails, memos or informal notes.
Most supervisors today are well-trained by corporate attorneys and human resources professionals to avoid leaving direct evidence that may even imply unlawful bias. For this reason, it is very rare to obtain direct evidence of eeoc laws being violated. This leaves it up to you and your attorney to gather circumstantial evidence to support your claim.
Circumstantial evidence in a discrimination suit is most often considered according to what is known as the "McDonnell-Douglas Test." This four-part test is based on a well-known Title VII case that made it to the Supreme Court in 1973. The four essential questions are:
- Are you in a protected class?
- Did you meet the qualifications for the position?
- Was adverse action taken by your employer that caused you to lose money?
- Was the person who replaced you someone outside of your protected class?
In the great majority of cases, if your claim passes this test the courts will presume that the adverse action of your employer was due to your protected class status.Review My Case Now
The simplest remedy in a discrimination case has long been reinstating the employee back into their previous position, with all earned seniority and rightful benefits. It's not always so simple though, and a hostile job environment is not something you may want to return to.
The legal process can leave one or both sides bitter and reinstatement would be sending the employee back into a hostile work environment. In many other cases, the job is simply no longer available so reinstatement is not an option.
Back pay is almost always awarded in these cases, as well. This will give you the rightful pay you missed out on since your termination, or since the time you did not receive a promotion due to your membership in a protected class. Your previous employer will most likely also be ordered to pay your attorney's fees.
Other compensation may also be awarded, including compensatory and punitive damages. These damages are capped under Title VII, based on the size of the company. For small businesses with only 15 to 100 employees, the cap is $50,000. This cap gradually increases until it reaches a maximum of $300,000 for companies with more than 500 employees.
When you hear about people receiving a large amount of money from an employment lawsuit, it is almost always a class action suit against a large corporation. When widespread discriminatory practices are being carried out by a group of supervisors and managers, all employees in the protected class can join together to file a class action suit.Review My Case Now
Because employers have gotten wise and started to hide their discriminatory acts better than in the past, it can be difficult to determine if you were actually a victim of an unlawful employer action. A skilled discrimination law firm with experience fighting against employer abuses, however, can help. Contact us today to have one of our employment attorneys review your case.
Sharing what happened does not obligate you to work with the attorney, you are in full control of what next step you wish to take. It costs you nothing, you need only share the details of what was done to you, and get the answers and legal options you seek.
As an employee you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, period.
If you were discriminated against as a member of any of the protected groups, not only is it reprehensible, it is illegal and discrimination laws were put in place to protect you. When employers violate those rules, our employment lawyers are standing-by to hold them accountable.
To learn more, share what happened with one of our workplace discrimination attorneys today for a free no obligation case evaluation.