Being mistreated at work and in professional settings can lead to lower productivity, reduced income, fewer career prospects, and negative consequences for your private life. However, unfair treatment and discrimination at work can be illegal. You could seek damages such as back pay, awards for emotional anguish, and others.
Nobody should have to put up with being mistreated in the work environment. If you do not know where to go if treated unfairly in a professional setting, get in touch with us. Discrimination regulations can be complex and involve several laws. Our committed attorneys know how to fight back against unfair practices and unlawful discrimination. Contact us now to discover your options in a free, no-obligation consultation.
Discrimination in a Professional Setting
Unfair treatment can qualify as unlawful discrimination. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), discrimination occurs when a person is unfairly treated due to race, color, sex, age, disability, or another protected characteristic.
Workplace discrimination is no rarity in the US, despite various local, state, and federal laws seeking to eliminate unfair treatment. In 2020 alone, more than 67,000 discrimination charges were filed for discrimination in a professional setting. Most discrimination complaints involved retaliation, followed by disability, sex, race, and age.
Examples of Unfair Treatment at Work and in Professional Settings
Unfair treatment not only occurs at work but also during business travel, at a conference, or on a company retreat. Examples of discriminatory and unfair treatment include:
- Spreading rumors about an employee
- Making offensive comments or jokes
- Paying women lower wages than men for the same job
- Excluding a member of a protected class from conferences or work meetings
- Excluding certain employees from receiving benefits of bonuses
- Firing older workers and hiring younger employees for their job
- Refusing to promote employees due to their age, disability, race, or membership of another protected class
Unfair treatment can come in subtle forms, such as teasing and inappropriate jokes. However, discrimination can destroy an individual’s career and health.
Suicide on a Company Retreat
Discrimination and ill-treatment of employees can happen in many employment-related settings. Recently, Activision Blizzard has come under fire for its “frat boy” culture and mistreatment of female employees. According to Forbes, a female employee committed suicide on a company retreat. Her death is connected to being involved in a relationship with her supervisor. The female employee allegedly battled ongoing sexual harassment and humiliation at work.
If you experienced mistreatment or unlawful discrimination in a professional setting, you do not have to suffer in silence and can fight back. Consider getting legal advice from an employment attorney to learn about your rights and the next best steps.
Your Best Next Steps if You Are Treated Unfairly at Work
Gather Evidence of Unfair Treatment
Documenting unfair treatment can be critical for protecting your rights in the workplace. Internal memos, emails, or other office communications showing unfair treatment could be evidence. Ensure to preserve all evidence showing discrimination or unfair practices at work. It can also be helpful to note down the details of any incidents you consider discriminatory or unfair, including the names of those engaging in the behavior and dates.
Report Unfair Treatment
In the first instance, consider reporting any unfair treatment to your company’s human resources department. Reporting your complaint formalizes it and can protect you from retaliation by your employer. Your employer must not fire you for addressing the issue, as this would qualify as wrongful termination. Your next step can be filing a complaint with the EEOC either in person or online.
Look After Yourself
Experiencing mistreatment in a professional setting can be emotionally draining and upsetting. If this is happening to you, make sure you get the support you need, whether from friends, family members, or professional counselors. If you experienced a serious offense, such as a physical attack or sexual assault, contact law enforcement for help immediately.
Call an Employment Attorney
You have nothing to lose and plenty to gain by seeking legal advice and help if you are suffering from mistreatment at work. Many lawyers offer free consultations that allow you to learn about your rights and options for legal recourse. Morgan & Morgan’s experienced employment lawyers have helped countless individuals stand up against unfair treatment in professional settings. We can analyze your case and move forward with legal action if appropriate.
Federal Laws Dealing With Unfair Treatment and Discrimination
Unfair treatment can amount to illegal discrimination in some cases. If you experience discrimination in a professional setting, whether at your workplace or at professional events, you are generally protected by federal law. Some of the laws dealing with discrimination include:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
Our attorneys know the local, state, and federal laws that could impact your case. We can discuss your legal rights and the best course of action if you are suffering from workplace mistreatment and discrimination.
Who Is Protected From Unfair Treatment?
Discrimination can affect us all, as every individual belongs to a protected class at some point in their lives, whether based on their gender or age. Therefore, we all enjoy some protection from unfair treatment in professional settings. Laws protect employees from mistreatment by employers, customers, and coworkers on the basis of:
Unfair treatment in a professional setting based on race is illegal as per Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1981. Employees must not be subjected to workplace harassment or be treated less favorably by an employer due to their race.
Unfair treatment and discrimination based on an employee’s sex are unlawful. Sex discrimination can include:
- Sexual harassment
- Unequal pay
- Getting left out of promotions
- Missing out on benefits
Employees aged 40 and over are generally protected from ill-treatment at work based on their age. Being left out of training opportunities, missing out on promotions, or facing hostile work environments can qualify as illegal discrimination.
Disabled individuals are protected in the same way as all other protected classes. In addition, they must not be denied reasonable workplace accommodation by an employer.
Other Discriminatory Acts
In addition to the above, unfair treatment may also amount to illegal discrimination if it is based on an employee’s:
- Political affiliation
- Pregnancy status
- Sexual orientation
Victims of Unfair Treatment Could Receive Compensation
If you were mistreated in a professional setting, you could qualify for compensation. Depending on the circumstances and facts of your case, you could seek the following remedies:
- Reinstatement of your position
- Back pay
- Salary adjustment
- Awards for Humiliation
- Attorney’s fees and legal costs
- Vocational expenses for finding alternative employment or re-training
- Punitive damages
How Morgan & Morgan Could Help
Standing up against unfair treatment and discrimination can be a challenge. Employers can have the upper hand in such disputes, as they generally have the resources and experience to deal with discrimination claims. Moreover, employees may not know where to turn if they are treated unfairly in a professional setting or how to file an official complaint.
Leveling the Playing Field
Standing up to an employer can feel overwhelmingly difficult, especially if you have suffered from a toxic work environment for some time. However, a discrimination attorney can level the playing field, assist with filing a discrimination complaint, and handle your case from beginning to end.
Offering Practical Help and a Shoulder to Lean On
We spend a lot of our time at work and at various work-related functions. Having to endure unfair treatment or even discrimination may not only be damaging to your financial health and career but can cause a lack of confidence and emotional distress. Consulting with an attorney about your rights can give you the boost you need to know that you are not powerless. Our compassionate and experienced attorneys can take some of the burdens off your shoulders and fight for justice on your behalf. In practical ways, we can:
- Inform you of your rights and legal options
- Collect evidence and build your case
- Assess your damages
- Negotiate an out-of-court settlement
- File a discrimination lawsuit
- Fight for what you deserve at a trial