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Can an Attorney Help With Discrimination in the Workplace? 

Can an Attorney Help With Discrimination in the Workplace? 

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Can an Attorney Help With Discrimination in the Workplace?

Discrimination in the workplace can have devastating effects on employees’ morale, productivity, and emotional well-being. You should be judged by your work performance and not by where you were born, how old you are, or how you look. Discrimination is illegal in the US. If you are the victim of workplace discrimination, you could take action and pursue compensation, including awards for emotional distress, back pay, and other damages. 

Discrimination laws are complex and, depending on your case, can involve local, state, and federal laws. A discrimination attorney at Morgan & Morgan can help you fight back and get the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us now to find out for free how we could help you. 

What Is Discrimination in the Workplace?

According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), unlawful discrimination can be based on a person’s race, sex, color, age, national origin, disability, and other attributes. Retaliating against an individual for filing a discrimination complaint or assisting with the investigation into a complaint is also unlawful. 

Unfortunately, discrimination is endemic in the US, despite state, federal, and local laws prohibiting such mistreatment of employees. According to the EEOC, a staggering 67,448 workplace discrimination charges were filed in 2020 alone. Retaliation is the most common complaint, followed by disability, race, sex, and age discrimination. 

Laws Dealing With Workplace Discrimination

Several federal laws protect workers from discrimination in the workplace, including: 

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) 
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) 
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)

Depending on your particular case, you could also enjoy protections and rights based on local and state laws. A discrimination attorney will know the federal and state laws involving workplace discrimination and how they apply to your particular case. 

Examples of Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace can include subtle acts such as repeatedly making inappropriate jokes, teasing, or name-calling. However, workplace discrimination can also involve a variety of unlawful adverse actions by employers, including:

  • Failing to hire
  • Failing to promote
  • Failure to protect employees from hostile work environments
  • Wrongful termination
  • Denial of benefits or promotions
  • Exclusion from work activities

Examples of illegal discrimination under state and federal law include but are not limited to: 

Race Discrimination 

According to federal, state, and local laws, employers must not discriminate against employees based on their race. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1981 protects employees from receiving less favorable treatment from an employer and being subjected to workplace harassment due to their race. 

Gender Discrimination

Federal, state, and local laws also prohibit discrimination based on sex. Employers must not make assumptions about you regarding your abilities or performance based on your gender. Sex discrimination in the workplace can include: 

  • Unequal pay 
  • Sexual harassment
  • Denial of promotions or benefits 

Age Discrimination

The ADEA protects employees who are 40 and over from mistreatment due to their age. Like other protected classes, older workers should not have to suffer disadvantages regarding hiring, training, promotions, termination, and other employment conditions. Employees aged 40 and older are also protected from workplace harassment and hostile work environments. 

National Origin Discrimination

No worker should have to endure workplace discrimination due to their national origin. Current laws make it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees based on their national origin. 

Disability Discrimination

The ADA prohibits discrimination due to disability in all terms and conditions of employment. Additionally, an employer must not deny reasonable workplace accommodation that allows disabled employees to perform their jobs.

Other Types of Discrimination

It is also illegal to discriminate against employees based on:

  • Pregnancy status
  • Political affiliation
  • Family responsibilities such as child or elder care
  • Sexual orientation discrimination
  • Religious affiliation
  • Retaliation

General Signs of Workplaces With Discrimination Issues

In some cases, a workplace’s culture can point to systemic issues with discrimination, for example: 

  • A lack of diversity among employees
  • Unjustly denied promotions
  • Favoritism
  • Degrading leadership 
  • Inappropriate hiring practices and interview questions

What a Discrimination Attorney Can Do for You

Unfortunately, the odds could be stacked against you when handling a discrimination case on your own. Employers tend to have experience with discrimination claims and often have the resources and legal representation on hand to deal with such claims effectively. On the other hand, employees may not know where to file their complaints or what their next best steps are. 

An experienced discrimination attorney can level the playing field, protect your rights, and handle all aspects of your case. Sound legal advice can help you make informed decisions about seeking legal recourse and damages from an employer. An attorney can also help you file a discrimination complaint with the EEOC or your relevant state’s agency and handle all aspects of a lawsuit.

You Should File a Discrimination Case as Soon as Possible

Timely action is essential if you want to get justice after experiencing discrimination at work. Individuals generally only have 180 days after the discriminatory act to file a claim with the EEOC, the federal agency investigating discrimination in the workplace. There could also be other state-specific deadlines for filing a complaint. An attorney from our firm can ensure that you meet all critical filing deadlines and do not risk losing your right to compensation from an employer. 

Workplace Discrimination Compensation 

The law offers various remedies for those subjected to illegal discrimination, including having their position reinstated and receiving compensation for emotional distress and financial losses. You could seek the following damages and others, depending on your case: 

  • Back pay 
  • Pay for overtime, tips, commission, and vacation time
  • Restoration of benefits
  • Salary adjustments
  • Awards for humiliation and embarrassment
  • Reimbursement of court expenses and attorney’s fees 
  • Costs for securing new employment such as re-training
  • Punitive damages
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FAQ

Morgan & Morgan

  • How Do I Know Whether I Have Been Discriminated Against?

    It can be hard to tell whether you are experiencing illegal discrimination. However, constantly getting passed over for promotions or facing a hostile work environment each day could constitute workplace discrimination. You could be discriminated against if you are treated differently from other employees based on your race, age, color, sex, or for other reasons and suffered harm, such as emotional distress or financial damages. Questions to ask yourself:

    • Does your employer have valid reasons for adverse employment action against you?  
    • Are workers that are not members of a protected class treated differently?
    • If you were not a member of a protected class, would you have been treated differently? 

    If you can answer any of these questions with a yes, you are likely experiencing discrimination. 

    On the flip side, not every adverse employment action necessarily constitutes discrimination. An employer is within their rights to discipline or fire employees that are not adhering to company policies or are underperforming. However, if discrimination has led to financial losses, held you back in your career, or affected you mentally or physically, consider consulting with a discrimination lawyer. You could be entitled to damages. 

  • What Is the Difference Between Teasing and a Hostile Work Environment?

    A one-off joke or occasional teasing can be part of work banter. However, when harassment is constant or regular, and the work environment feels intimidating, you could be experiencing a hostile work environment. The true test of a hostile work environment is whether the hostilities are directed to a member or members of a specific class, for example, older employees or those of a different race. A supervisor or employer being equally offensive or intimidating to all employees is not committing illegal discrimination.

  • Can My Employer Retaliate if I Report Discrimination?

    In theory, retaliation by an employer for reporting discrimination or helping with an investigation is unlawful, according to state and federal laws. However, in at-will states, employers do not have to give a reason for firing an employee. Therefore, it can be tough to prove that an employer retaliated against you or wrongfully dismissed you. 

    If you experienced retaliation after participating in a discrimination investigation or reporting discrimination, you could potentially sue your employer. Your employer will have to prove that whatever adverse reaction they took, such as denying a promotion or firing you, was not due to retaliation. If you believe that an employer retaliated against you, consider seeking legal advice promptly to determine your options.

  • What Are the Most Common Forms of Workplace Retaliation?

    If you filed a discrimination complaint or helped with an investigation, look out for the following types of retaliation from an employer:

    • Passing you over from pay rises or promotions
    • Exclusion from job training, meetings, and other work activities
    • Hostile treatment and verbal abuse
    • Wrongful termination
    • Denial of benefits other employees receive
    • Getting demoted

    You do not have to stand for unlawful workplace retaliation and could have grounds for suing your employer. You could have a case against your employer in the following scenarios:

    • The adverse action you experienced did not adhere to company policies 
    • Adverse action by your employer or would not have happened had you not filed a discrimination complaint or assisted with a complaint.
  • What Are My Next Best Steps When Experiencing Workplace Discrimination?

    Experiencing discrimination at work can be upsetting and take the wind out of your sails. It could even make you fearful of going to work. However, you do not have to accept being mistreated. Actions you can take include:

    • Reporting discrimination to management or your human resources department
    • Filing a complaint with the EEOC or your state’s division of civil rights 
    • Consulting with a discrimination attorney 
  • How Can an Attorney Help with Discrimination in the Workplace?

    Workplace discrimination can have emotional and financial consequences for an individual and their loved ones. An attorney from our firm can walk you through your legal options for getting justice. Working with a lawyer can be critical if you have been wrongfully terminated or the time for filing a claim is running out, and you do not know what to do. An attorney can help you file legal action against your employer and advise you if you received an unsatisfactory reply from the EEOC. 

    A discrimination attorney could help fight for your rights by:

    • Explaining your employment rights and legal options to you
    • Gathering evidence to prove your discrimination case
    • Filing a discrimination lawsuit
    • Handling all communication and paperwork for your case
    • Assessing your financial damages
    • Fighting for your rights vigorously in the courtroom

    Our committed discrimination attorneys can advocate for you if you have been discriminated against at work. Discuss your case with us in a free consultation and find out if you could qualify for damages.

  • Can I Afford a Morgan & Morgan Discrimination Attorney?

    Morgan & Morgan focuses on fighting for justice and compensation for all victims of unlawful discrimination, regardless of their financial background. When you work with us, we promise:

    • No upfront attorney’s fees
    • No hidden fees or costs
    • No lawyer’s fees at all if you lose the case

    Morgan & Morgan does not charge you anything upfront. We only collect our fee if and when we win.

  • Our Attorneys Fight Discrimination in the Workplace 

    Workplace discrimination can take a considerable toll on your career and your home life. While financial damage due to being denied a promotion or getting unfairly terminated can be a big monetary loss, victims also often feel the emotional impact keenly. Facing a hostile work environment day after day can destroy your self-confidence and cause feelings of loneliness and sadness. Do not let this happen to you.

    Our seasoned discrimination attorneys are here to stand up for you and offer a shoulder to lean on during this difficult time. We can help you fight for what you deserve and know how to assess the full financial and psychological impact of discrimination, allowing for maximum recovery. Morgan & Morgan’s tenacious discrimination attorneys have helped countless workers get justice. We could help you too. Get started now and schedule a free and confidential consultation to determine your next best steps. 

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