Do you suspect that your rights have been violated at work? If so, you must act quickly because the statute of limitations to file an employment discrimination claim is only 180 days from the date of the incident. It is against the law for any employer to discriminate, harass, or allow others to mistreat because of your race, age, skin color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, and relationship with someone who has a disability, sex, religion, or any other characteristic protected by federal law. If you have suffered an injustice and want to see if you have a case, you need an employment discrimination lawyer to help determine what type of claim to file with the EEOC. An employment law specialist will also know how to collect the right evidence, witnesses, and other items necessary to win your case and hold your employer accountable for violating your employment rights. Don’t let them bully you, we can stand by your side and never back down.
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We want to protect and fight for your rights, helping you get the EEOC discrimination settlement or other remedy you deserve as a victim of discrimination at work. Call Baron & Budd today or send us an email requesting an appointment time convenient for you.
Who Regulates & Enforces Employment Discrimination Claims?
The EEOC, state level employment agencies, and the MPSB regulate, adjudicate, mediate, and enforce claims for work discrimination. The EEOC is a federal agency that enforces most employment discrimination cases, but they can also be settled out of court when employers offer a settlement to the victim of discrimination. Employment discrimination cases can make for some memorable headlines, but misinformation often abounds when it comes to what actions are prohibited by law and what employee behaviors or characteristics are protected.
A number of states including Texas, California, and Louisiana, provide even more expansive anti-discrimination protection than what is provided by federal law. State employment laws sometimes come into play in situations when federal laws do not offer discrimination protection. When this happens you may be eligible for both federal and state claims for discrimination at work.
Who is Protected Under Federal and State Anti-Discrimination Laws?
Anti-discrimination laws protect any person employed in the United States. However, discrimination laws offer specific protection to people of minority groups so that they cannot be punished or persecuted because of their differences as long as they are able to perform the core functions of their job. Illegal employment discrimination occurs when an employer actively engages in discrimination or allows it to occur against an employee for a few reasons.
Examples of Employment Discrimination
Discriminating against an employee by not allowing the same advancement opportunities because they are Muslim, Jewish, Mormon, or belong to the Church of Scientology is an example of employment discrimination based on religion.
An example of racial discrimination is denying an African American employee education reimbursement benefits but giving the same benefits to another equally qualified employee who is caucasian.
Workplace Discrimination Based on the Following is Illegal in the United States
- Skin Color
- Gender Identity
- Country or Origin
- Sexual Orientation
- Physical Disability
- Mental Illness
- Medical Condition or Illness
- Learning Disability
Under a variety of federal laws, most notably Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Equal Pay Act (EPA), and even the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), employees with certain immutable or constitutionally-protected characteristics (like age, sex, race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, genetic information, and disability) may not be subject to discrimination in employment or harassment in the workplace.
These laws are purposely written to be as broad as possible; it’s up to the federal district courts (and ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court) to determine whether and how these laws apply to specific facts. As a result, characteristics like gender identification and sexual orientation (to protect the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals) have been provided with protection in some scenarios under the more general harassment provisions of Title VII, even though not explicitly written into the law.
State anti-discrimination laws can vary widely and may expand the federal protections to additional classes of workers. For example, the Texas Labor Code has a section providing specific on-the-job protections against sexual harassment of unpaid interns.
California offers expanded protections for all employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity, HIV or AIDS status, and even political affiliation.
Meanwhile, under Louisiana law, the federally protected categories include sickle-cell trait (as a disproportionate number of African-Americans in this state suffer from sickle-cell anemia).
Employers with fewer than 15 or 20 employees may be exempt from most federal anti-discrimination laws (like the ADA, ADEA, GINA, and Title VII); however, California provides protection for employees who work with as few as 4 other people. The state of Louisiana provides workplace discrimination protection for people working for a company employing 20 to 25 workers.
What types of action are prohibited under anti-discrimination laws?
Anti-discrimination laws protect workers from unfair treatment because of specific characteristics including unequal pay for women, sexual harassment or an invitation for sexual favors to a refusal to accommodate an individual’s request for a medically necessary ergonomic chair.
Generally federal anti-discrimination laws protect employees from discrimination regarding the following employment claim categories:
- Hiring and firing;
- Promotion and demotion;
- Admission into employee training or certification programs;
- Compensation, assignment, pay, classification or job title;
- Benefits like health insurance, 401k, retirement, & reimbursement of expenses;
- Reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities; and
- Approval or availability of sick or unpaid medical leave.
Employees are also protected from sexual harassment (from lewd comments or off-color jokes to physical contact like groping) as well as harassment based on any of the above-listed protected categories. In addition, employees are protected from retaliation for filing a complaint with the EEOC or bringing an employment discrimination lawsuit.
How Can I Report or File a Claim for Employment Discrimination?
If you have experienced employment discrimination at work, there are a few avenues that you can take to file a claim for compensation through the federal government (EEOC) and the state you live in.
We highly recommend contacting a workplace discrimination lawyer before proceeding because the process is often complex and difficult.
Steps in the EEOC Discrimination Lawsuit Process
- File a complaint with the EEOC
- The EEOC appoints a counselor to your case to investigate wrongdoing
- Possible mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in an attempt to resolve issue
- EEOC grants permission to file a formal EEOC complaint if mediation or ADR don’t work
- Take your discrimination claim to trial in federal court, pursing compensation for wrongdoing from your employer
Filing a Discrimination Claim or Complaint with the EEOC. When you file a discrimination claim with the EEOC, an administrative process is set in motion beginning with the EEOC appointing a counselor to investigate your case and likely recommending alternative dispute resolution (like mediation) to resolve it out of court with your employer. In some cases, this may be enough to get you what you want, whether reinstatement to your old job or the termination of a problem employee. Sometimes your employer will offer you a discrimination settlement to compensate you out of court and end the lengthy (and often embarrassing) legal process.
If these alternative dispute resolution processes are unsuccessful, you may then be given leave to file a formal EEO complaint and then a lawsuit in federal court.
In most cases, when you’re suing an employer in federal court, you’ll need to exhaust your administrative remedies through the EEOC process before your lawsuit can go forward — however, there are a few exceptions (like claims under the ADEA or Equal Pay Act). On the state level, California, Louisiana, and Texas all have agencies that perform parallel functions and issue “right to sue” letters in state court.
Contact an Attorney for Workplace Discrimination Help
Schedule a Consultation – 866-262-1553
Call Baron & Budd today or send us an email to schedule a convenient time for a case evaluation. We will determine if you are eligible to file a workplace discrimination claim, and pursue justice for the discrimination you endured.