How to Sue for Workplace Discrimination

How to Sue for Workplace Discrimination

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How to Sue for Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace is unfortunately not uncommon. Both employees and job applicants are potential victims of workplace discrimination. Some workers often ignore discriminatory actions against them, as they feel there is little they can do about it.

However, there are laws in place that protect employees from workplace discrimination, and no one should accept discrimination without putting up a fight.

Bringing workplace discrimination to light is essential in preventing other employees from experiencing it. A person who chooses to notify their employer of discriminatory activities takes a strong stance. Oftentimes, workplace discrimination isn’t limited to one specific incident; in many cases, it’s systemic.

Are you wondering how to sue for workplace discrimination? Let’s get started.

If you’ve suffered workplace discrimination, it’s time to take action. Use our simple contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with the Morgan & Morgan team today.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • What Is Workplace Discrimination?

    Workplace discrimination occurs when an employee suffers a loss due to discriminatory actions perpetrated by an employer. Under U.S. and state laws, it is illegal to discriminate against any employee based on:

    • Race
    • Religion
    • Ethnicity
    • Sex
    • Pregnancy status
    • Disability
    • Age

    The federal government has established five different laws that prohibit workplace discrimination.

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 specifically prohibits any kind of discrimination in employment based on factors like race, sex, color, religion, or national origin. Under the law, no business or government agency can prohibit the employment of someone based on factors outside of their control, such as their skin color or gender.

    The law does not apply to businesses with fewer than 15 employees.

    Equal Pay Act of 1963

    Under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, no employer can base wages on a person’s gender. Employees who perform jobs with similar responsibilities and have the same level of education must receive equal pay for their work, regardless of whether they are a man or a woman.

    While the law did not initially apply to professionals or executives, it was amended in 1972 to include both.

    Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

    The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits age discrimination in the workplace for those 40 and older.

    Under the law, employers cannot refuse to hire individuals based on their age. Opportunities for advancement must be available to all employees with the appropriate education and skill set. No employee can have their wages reduced due to their age.  

    Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990

    The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prevents discrimination against individuals with impairments. The Act requires employers to accommodate those with disabilities in the workplace and prevents employers from refusing an application for employment based on a person’s underlying condition.

    Employers must provide employees who have a disability with the same opportunities as everyone else in the organization.

    Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008

    The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prevents discrimination for employment or health insurance based on genetic information. Thus, family members with hereditary disorders are entitled to protection under the law.

    An employer cannot refuse an employee a position based on genetics, and no health insurer can deny health insurance based on a family history of genetic disorders like epilepsy or mental retardation.

  • What are Examples of Workplace Discrimination?

    The first step in understanding how to sue for workplace discrimination involves determining what has occurred. There are two classifications of workplace discrimination: de jure discrimination and de facto discrimination.

    De jure discrimination occurs when an employer deliberately disobeys established discrimination laws. Examples of de jure discrimination include:

    • Placing a job ad in the local paper for a bartender age 30 or younger
    • Hiring only people who fit into a specific ethnic category
    • Refusing to hire individuals who practice a particular religion
    • Employing only men for manufacturing jobs
    • Paying a disabled worker less than another employee in the same role, even though they have the same level of experience and education

    De facto discrimination occurs when an organization doesn’t openly disobey laws, but the company’s actions signal discriminatory intent. Examples of de facto discrimination include:

    • Workplaces filled with employees under 40, interviewing only younger applicants
    • Job offerings posted only in publications with readers in certain ethnic groups
    • Subtly asking female employees their plans for growing their families
    • Lack of accommodations for disabled people in certain areas of the organization
    • Jokes made about a religion, especially by someone in management

    These are just a few examples of job discrimination experienced by employees and job applicants. However, there are thousands of potential discriminatory actions by employers. Taking action is crucial if you feel you may be a victim of workplace discrimination.

  • What Should I Do if I Believe I’ve Been Discriminated Against in the Workplace?

    If you’re wondering how to sue for workplace discrimination and you believe you’re the subject of workplace discrimination, gather any evidence that you have.

    Note conversations that seemed inappropriate and who they were with. Include the date of the discussion and other important factors, like the location of the conversation and anyone else who witnessed it.

    If any emails appear discriminatory, save them in a safe place. Print copies for your reference.

    Your first obligation is to talk with the individual at work who seems to be discriminatory. Sometimes, people make discriminatory comments but don’t intend them seriously.

    While joking is not an excuse for discrimination, discussing the incident with your employer and describing how it made you feel is sometimes enough to prevent it from happening again.

    If the individual doesn’t admit to their actions or disregards your complaint, it’s time to take it to the human resources department. Most companies have policies in place that indicate an intolerance for discrimination. Bring a copy of the company policies to your meeting with human resources, along with your evidence of discriminatory activities.

    Human resources has a responsibility to pursue a no-tolerance policy for discrimination. However, sometimes even human resources can ignore complaints. Sometimes, discrimination is so systemic in an organization that all departments are affected.

    If you’re unsuccessful with human resources, you’ll need to decide whether pursuing a legal case against the company is justified.

    Morgan and Morgan will work with you to outline the facts of your case and determine the next steps. You don’t need to pursue a legal claim against the company by yourself. Seeking legal counsel usually yields the best results. 

  • What Happens When You Sue for Workplace Discrimination?

    Are you wondering how to sue for workplace discrimination? The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) prohibits individuals from beginning a lawsuit against an employer without express approval. However, legal counsel can help you prepare the complaint you submit for review.

    To submit a complaint, you’ll notify the EEOC of the discrimination charge. You should include all evidence of the bias and the discussions you held with the employer and the human resources department. Following receipt of the complaint, the EEOC will begin its investigation.

    An investigation with the EEOC begins by notifying the employer that you have lodged a complaint against them. The EEOC will inform the employer of the circumstances of the allegation and ask questions related to the events.

    Following the investigation, the EEOC will decide whether to pursue its own lawsuit against the company or permit you to sue on your own. The EEOC will dismiss the case if it doesn’t deem your complaint to have merit.

  • How Long Does It Take the EEOC to Investigate a Complaint?

    The EEOC advises that most claims take up to ten months to investigate thoroughly. During that time, the EEOC will interview witnesses, examine your evidence, and visit your employer’s office. If the EEOC recommends a case for mediation, the investigation may finish sooner.

    During this time, you should continue doing your job, if at all possible. If additional events occur that you consider discriminatory after you file your complaint, you can amend the complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate any further occurrences and include them in their final recommendations.

  • How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Against My Employer?

    You must wait to file a lawsuit in federal court if the discrimination you experienced is related to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. You may begin a lawsuit if the EEOC does not resolve your case within 180 days of your complaint. Sometimes, the EEOC will give you the right to sue before the 180-day period has elapsed.

    Cases involving age discrimination do not require a notice to sue to begin your case in federal court. However, you must wait 60 days from the date of your complaint with the EEOC to initiate legal proceedings.

    Finally, if your discrimination case is related to wage discrimination, you do not need approval from the EEOC to begin your lawsuit. You can start legal proceedings any time during the two years after you received your last paycheck containing discriminatory wages.

  • What Should I Expect During My Consultation?

    During a consultation, an attorney on our team with expertise in workplace discrimination cases will ask you about the circumstances you experienced. Feel free to ask us any questions about your case at that time. Our consultation is complimentary, so there is no cost for seeking our initial advice.

  • Will My Case Go to Trial?

    It depends. Some workplace discrimination cases end up in court, while some end with a settlement. We’ll be better able to determine the trajectory of your case if we understand what led to the discrimination.

  • What Happens if I Win My Case?

    There are numerous potential outcomes for your case. Some employees receive monetary damages for the discrimination they experienced. In some situations, the employer must stop behaving a certain way and amend their workplace policies.

    If your employer fired you and violated discrimination laws, your employer may be legally obligated to reinstate your position.

  • Get Assistance With Your Workplace Discrimination Case from Morgan & Morgan

    At Morgan and Morgan, we’ve helped thousands of individuals successfully sue their employers for workplace discrimination. Our team of lawyers is highly skilled and knowledgeable in employee rights and employer obligations to prevent discrimination.

    We can assist you in your case and ensure that you have the appropriate legal counsel to bring it to light. To get started, use our online form to schedule a free consultation.

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