How To Properly Handle Employment Discrimination
Employment discrimination is a serious problem in workplaces throughout the country. It occurs when a member of a protected class is discriminated against by their peers, supervisors, or managers. This can come in many different forms. Protected classes are race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, and pregnancy.
There are a number of discrimination laws in place designed to protect workers from this type of behavior. These laws prohibit employers from treating workers any differently based on the factors previously mentioned (race, age, gender, etc.). Common examples of workplace discrimination include denying employment or promotions because a person is African-American, a woman, or is pregnant.
That being said, proving discrimination in the workplace can be a difficult task. It will require the assistance of a highly trained legal specialist. There are various regulations that dictate what companies can be prosecuted for discrimination as well as how long a person has to file a claim. These regulations vary according to the type of discrimination that takes place.
The Standard Course Of Action
Understanding when and how to take action against discrimination significantly increases your chances of success. Following is an examination of the typical course of action that occurs in these situations.
- Discrimination occurs. The first step is obviously the act of discrimination itself. This would require an employer to discriminate against you because of any of the criteria outlined above (race, color, genders, etc.)
- Contact an attorney. The most important step is contacting an attorney who specializes in employment discrimination in the state and city where you work. It is possible that they will recommend a course of action different from what is outlined below—that will depend entirely on the specific details of your situation. But you should have an attorney before you go through the next steps. One note of caution: It is never a good idea to hire an attorney who lives in another state. Attorneys in Florida do not know the attorneys in Dallas, they do not know the local rules, they do not know the local defense attorneys, and they are generally unfamiliar with the local courts and judges.
- Filing a charge. This is an administrative proceeding that must be done before a lawsuit can be filed. The charge starts the process, but it is handled directly by the EEOC. The charge must be filed within 180 days of the act of discrimination. You and your attorney should file the charge as soon as possible.
- EEOC contact with the employer. The EEOC will send a notice to your employer within 10 days. This notice is simply to let the employer know that a discrimination charge has been filed against them.
- The EEOC investigates. In this phase, the EEOC is supposed to investigate to determine if there is any cause that will support your allegation against the employer. It’s important to understand that this investigation is not to determine liability. It is also important to note that many times the EEOC does not investigate a claim for a year or more. In some cases, due to budget constraints, they may not investigate the claim at all. This is why it is important for you to have an attorney guide you through the process.
What Happens Next?
The following stages will be influenced by whether or not the EEOC found cause to support your allegations. If cause was found, then they will attempt to begin a conciliation between you and the employer. The goal of conciliation is to allow you and the employer to reach a settlement agreement without going to court.
If the EEOC does not find cause, then they will issue a “right to sue.” By this point, you should be working closely with your attorney to prepare to file a lawsuit in court against the employer. Again, there are specific deadlines that must be followed after you receive a right to sue letter. Similarly, if you could not reach an acceptable conciliation with the employer, then you will receive a “right to sue” letter. It is important to know that the right to sue letter is a formality—the EEOC must issue it, and the right to sue letter is not a determination by the EEOC that you have a valid claim or that the employer did nothing wrong.
Working With Your Attorney
The EEOC is a government agency designed to protect employees from discrimination. However, they handle a large volume of cases and cannot offer the personal attention that an attorney can. You should contact an attorney who specializes in employment discrimination
assoon as possible after the discrimination has occurred.
Do you believe you have been discriminated against? Call Scott | Perez today at (214) 965-9675.
Scott | Perez is the most unique employee-focused law firm in Dallas. We have one focus: advocating for employees. That’s it. With nearly two decades of experience representing large companies, we have now made it our mission to help individual employees from all walks of life without direct cost to them. With a 24-year corporate veteran and a progressive lawyer who speaks Spanish, Matt Scott and Javier Perez have created the premier employment law firm for any employee who needs a first-rate professional advocate. Scott | Perez puts legal expertise in the hands of those who need it.