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:
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.
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
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.
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
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
- 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