If you experienced discrimination at work, do not hesitate to contact the employee rights and overtime lawyers of Wallace Miller. We could file a claim on your behalf and provide the legal representation and assistance you need. It is your right to feel safe in the workplace, and any violations of that right entitle you to pursue legal action.
Federal and state laws are supposed to protect employees from discrimination in all job industries. No one should go to work every day and feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against their employees or allow a hostile work environment that affects someone’s job abilities. You should not face attacks from others based on your religion, sex, race, disability, or another characteristic.
Discrimination is not only harmful to an employee’s mental health and well-being, but it is also illegal. Multiple agencies regulate acts of discrimination at the state and federal levels. Whether your employer fired you because you have a disabling condition or a coworker sexually harassed you at the office, you can seek compensation for lost wages, emotional distress, and other losses. Wallace Miller is ready to be your advocate and help you in the fight for justice.
Call Wallace Miller for your free consultation at (312) 261-6193 today to learn more about your available legal options and what we can do for you.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Discrimination Laws
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws regarding workplace discrimination. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee or applicant based on that person’s:
- National origin
- Sex, including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity
- Genetic information
Additionally, federal laws prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who report incidents of discrimination, file a complaint, or participate in an employment discrimination lawsuit or investigation.
Discrimination laws also apply to various aspects of a person’s employment, including:
- Job advertisements
- Recruiting a new employee
- Job applications and hiring practices
- Employment references
- Decisions regarding discipline and discharge
- Job referrals
- Background checks
- Pay and benefits
- Job assignments
Each state enforces its own anti-discrimination laws based on various parameters. Unfortunately, some only apply to employers who employ a specific number of people, and multiple exceptions exist.
Common Types of Discrimination
Discrimination is a broad term that can involve a range of circumstances under federal or state law. Although federal laws prohibit discrimination based on different employee characteristics, some states don’t. Additionally, even if laws at the state level don’t prohibit discrimination, local statutes might ban certain types of discrimination at work.
The most common types of employment discrimination are listed below.
Harassment is a form of discrimination. It includes verbal and nonverbal acts that prevent employees from performing their job due to their sexual characteristics or make them feel uncomfortable. Examples of sexual harassment include:
- Degrading profanity
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Displays of sexual or pornographic material in working spaces
- Sexually charged jokes and comments
Employers violate federal and state discrimination laws when making employment-related decisions based on an employee’s sex. They can also face retaliation charges if they take adverse action against an employee who files a complaint or reports what happened.
Hostile Work Environment
A hostile work environment is a common factor involved in discrimination lawsuits. Anyone can create a hostile work environment. When it centers around an employee’s protected status, such as a disability, it violates discrimination laws.
For example, a supervisor might make an inappropriate joke about their subordinate’s disability despite never interfering with that person’s work abilities. The disabled employee could find it difficult to do their job because of the hostile work environment.
Discrimination based on a medical condition is illegal under state and federal laws. Any employment-related decisions involving an employee’s medical status are prohibited.
For example, an employer can’t fire someone just because that person received a cancer diagnosis. Terminating employment requires a justifiable reason. Even if a disease or medical issue could get in the way of the job, it’s not a valid reason for firing someone.
Additional types of employment discrimination include:
- Marital status
- Wrongful termination
- Failure to promote
- Loss of benefits
- Dress codes
- Refusal of reasonable accommodation for religion or disability
- Forced resignation
- Unfair disciplinary action
- Wage disparities
- Refusing the use of company facilities
You should consult one of the workplace discrimination attorneys from Wallace Miller no matter what type of discrimination you experienced at work. We can investigate to determine whether there’s a case we can pursue on your behalf.
Evidence in a Discrimination Claim
You must have evidence to submit when you file a discrimination complaint. The evidence must support your claims of discrimination by an employer, supervisor, or another party in the workplace. The discrimination that occurred must fall under federal or state law.
Handling a discrimination case is complicated. You must prepare the necessary documentation, gather evidence, and follow strict filing deadlines. It can be overwhelming for anyone to handle alone. You shouldn’t attempt to take on any legal aspects of your claim yourself. Let Wallace Miller complete each step for you.
We know how to investigate incidents of discrimination thoroughly and obtain the available evidence to prove an employer or someone else discriminated against their employee. Some of the evidence we might collect includes:
- Copy of the company’s policies
- List of discriminatory verbal comments made by the employer
- Documentation proving favoritism or bias in the workplace
- Proof of mistreatment by another person because of your protected status
- Notes, emails, or memos from your employer
- Employee files regarding a missed promotion, demotion, disciplinary action, or another record showing discrimination as a basis for the decisions
- Statements from people who witnessed the incidents
Unfortunately, discrimination can be a challenge to prove. Typically, physical evidence is rare. Many cases hinge on circumstantial evidence and the word of the employee and witnesses. Even if you don’t have indisputable proof, you should still proceed with your claim. We can investigate and try to find a way to show that you were the victim of workplace discrimination.
Compensation for Workplace Discrimination
You could recover a monetary award when you pursue legal action against your employer for discrimination. The compensation you receive might cover a range of your expenses related to the discriminatory acts, including:
- Back pay
- Attorneys’ fees
- Expert witness fees
- Court costs
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Costs associated with looking for another job or medical treatment
- Additional job-related losses
You could also recover compensation for the emotional trauma you endured from the incident, such as loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, or inconvenience. The court might award punitive damages to punish your employer for their particularly egregious or malicious act of discrimination. You could even get reinstated at your previous place of employment if you win your case.
If Your Employer Retaliates
The EEOC protects employees from retaliatory action by their employers. If you reported the discrimination and your employer chose to retaliate, you could pursue a retaliation claim. According to federal law, it is unlawful to retaliate against an employee or prospective applicant for:
- Answering an employer’s questions during their investigation about a harassment complaint
- Filing an EEOC complaint or lawsuit against an employer
- Asking a coworker or manager about salary information to determine if wages are discriminatory
- Refusing to follow an employer’s order that will result in discrimination against another
- Serving as a witness in a discrimination investigation, complaint, or lawsuit
- Discussing incidents of discrimination with a manager or supervisor
- Requesting accommodations for a disability
- Resisting management’s sexual advances
Common types of retaliation by employers include:
- Engaging in physical or verbal abuse
- Reprimanding the employee unfairly or providing a poor performance review
- Making reports or threatening to make reports to law enforcement
- Spreading false rumors about the employee
- Transferring the employee to a less desirable position
- Making the job more challenging, such as changing work schedules knowing it will conflict with outside obligations
You must file a complaint with the EEOC if you want to pursue legal action against your employer for retaliation. The agency will review your complaint and determine whether they will proceed with an investigation. If they reject your complaint or can’t resolve the matter, you can request a “right to sue” letter and file a lawsuit against your employer.
The compensation you receive in a retaliation case could cover losses, such as:
- Back pay and future lost wages
- Loss of benefits
- Pain and suffering, including harm to reputation and embarrassment
- Attorneys’ fees
Punitive damages might also be available in a retaliation case. However, you must have proof of the employer’s egregious actions. The courts will only award this form of compensation if there’s solid evidence proving what happened and the harm it caused.
Wallace Miller is ready to represent you in your discrimination case against your employer. Our workplace discrimination attorneys know how devastating this experience has been and the struggles you face while pursuing legal action. You can count on us to remain by your side during every step of the process and provide the support you need.
If you faced discrimination by your employer, supervisor, or another party at work, call Wallace Miller at (312) 261-6193 today for your free consultation.