The laws enforced by EEOC protect you from employment discrimination when it involves: Unfair treatment because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information.
What Is the EEOC and What Does it Do?
Workplace harassment charges fall under the jurisdiction of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This federal governing body investigates all complaints of harassment or discrimination in the workplace and makes recommendations to employers who they determine are in violation of state and federal employment law. In many cases, you must file a complaint with the EEOC and receive a “go ahead” to file a claim against an employer for workplace harassment.
Anti-Discrimination Laws and Your Rights
Discrimination is prejudicial or unfair treatment of people because of their membership in a legally protected category, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or age. There are many state and federal laws that protect individuals in these protected groups. Federal laws include, but are not limited to:
- Civil Rights Act
- Equal Pay Act
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Fair Housing Act
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
There are also many state laws that provide protections against discrimination. If you have questions about the laws in your particular state, speak with a lawyer from our firm. We are experienced and knowledgeable in state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Our legal team also takes cases nationwide.
How Anti-Discrimination Laws Protect Your Rights
Under U.S. anti-discrimination laws, you cannot be discriminated against on the basis of:
- Gender/Gender identity
- National origin
- Genetic information
- Sexual orientation
- Military status
State and federal laws prohibit discrimination and protect your rights in many contexts, including:
- Employment discrimination
- Education or school-based discrimination
- Housing discrimination (including renting, buying or other housing-related activities)
- Health care discrimination
- Discrimination by financial institutions
The attorneys at Workers’ Advocate Law Group are experienced in handling discrimination cases. If you need a lawyer because you believe you have been wrongfully discriminated against, contact our legal team today.
How do I know if I was discriminated against?
Most workplace discrimination is subtle. Employers are aware that discrimination could lead to a lawsuit and take steps to make sure they don’t put anything in writing or say anything obvious to the employer or applicant. However, there may be signs of discrimination.
Proof of employment discrimination could involve showing that certain groups of employees are treated differently from other employees. It could also include sudden changes in attitude towards an employee when an employer finds out an employee is part of a protected group. These signs of possible discrimination may involve:
- Sudden changes in job performance reviews
- Exclusion from meetings and events
- Change in work duties or workload increases
- Reduced hours or reduced pay (no equal pay)
- Different rule enforcement involving workers of different backgrounds
- Failure of management to put a stop to racist or sexist jokes in the workplace
- Making fun of an individual’s accent or sexual orientation
- Failing to consider applicants with ethnic-sounding names
Employers who are in the same protected class as the employee can still discriminate. For example, an African-American boss can discriminate against an African-American employee or applicant. A female employer can discriminate against a female applicant because of her gender.
Some of the most common types of discrimination in the workplace are:
- Age Discrimination: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it a violation to discriminate against any current employee or job applicant over the age of 40. It is illegal to fire, lay off, demote or take any such adverse employment action against an employee because of his or her age.
- Sex Discrimination: Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination in the workplace that is based on an employee’s gender or sexual orientation. Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII.
- Race, Religion And National Origin Discrimination: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that employers shall not discriminate against workers based on race or religion. The same law also requires employers to make reasonable accommodation for religious practices unless it presents an undue burden to the employer. Employers are also prohibited under federal law from discriminating against employees or job applicants based on their national origin or perceived ethnic background. It is also a violation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 to discriminate against a worker or applicant based on his or her citizenship or immigration status.
- Disability Discrimination: The Americans with Disability Act and the Rehabilitation Act require that employers cannot discriminate against current or prospective employees based on any type of physical or mental disability, or even a medical condition such as cancer. The employer is also required to make reasonable accommodations for disabled persons in the workplace such as constructing wheelchair ramps, providing ergonomic furniture, etc. Under the law, pregnancy is considered a disability as well. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers from discriminating against women in the workplace due to pregnancy. The employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women when necessary.
Discrimination & Retaliation
It is important for you to get it on the record that you don’t appreciate being discriminated against. If your supervisor is retaliating against you by further mistreating you at work, it is important that you document such retaliation and report that as well. File a complaint with your human resources department and report your employer to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Contact an experienced Los Angeles workplace discrimination lawyer who will fight to protect your rights every step of the way.
Filing a Discrimination Lawsuit
If you want to understand how or whether to sue for discrimination, speak to an attorney at our firm right away. Workers’ Advocate Law Group civil rights, sexual assault/harassment and discrimination practice attorneys can help you determine if you are eligible to file a lawsuit and inform you of relevant time limitations for filing a potential claim.
Time Limits and Statutes of Limitations
Anti-discrimination laws give individuals a limited amount of time to file a discrimination lawsuit. How many years does an individual have to file a discrimination lawsuit? The time limit depends on the context of your situation and the laws that apply to it.
For example, if you experienced workplace discrimination in California, you may only have one year from the date that you were discriminated against to file an administrative complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
If you are seeking to file a discrimination lawsuit, it is critical to meet the applicable statutory deadlines. If you miss a deadline to either file a complaint or a lawsuit, you will likely no longer be eligible to file your complaint or claim.
Count on an experienced lawyer from Workers’ Advocate Law Group who has extensive experience in fighting for their clients’ employment rights. You can contact our firm online to schedule your free consultation in English or Spanish today. Our team will be more than happy to assist you accordingly.