Federal law prohibits companies from discriminating against its employees. Employers are not allowed to take any adverse employment action on the basis of an employee belonging (or being perceived to belong) to a protected class. These adverse actions can include termination, failure to hire, demotion, failure to promote, loss of pay and retaliation. Protected classes include race, color, national origin, religion, gender, pregnancy, age and disability.
If you believe you have been the victim of workplace discrimination, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Contact a knowledgeable Washington, D.C. workplace discrimination attorney today to begin your case.
Examples of employment discrimination
There are rules in the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and other federal laws that prohibit employers from discriminating in any aspect of employment. For example, Title VII, ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to all private employers, state and local governments and educational institutions with 15 or more employees. The ADEA applies to those with 20 or more employees.
Beyond the discriminatory actions already listed above, these laws have statutes in place that prohibit discrimination in advertisements for job positions, compensation, wages, fringe benefits, retaliation and recruitment.
For a more specific example, under Title VII and many state laws, sexual harassment is prohibited in the workplace. Harassment is any type of unwelcome behavior or conduct based on the victim belonging to a protected class. With sexual harassment often involves lewd comments, or pressuring a victim for sexual favors.
Frequently asked questions on workplace discrimination
Our attorneys at The Law Office of Nigel M. Atwell regularly receive questions from employment law clients about workplace discrimination. Here is a selection of the most frequently asked questions relating to that field.
What do I need to prove to win a discrimination case?
In a discrimination case, you must be able to prove you are a member of a protected class, you were qualified to perform the job you had, you were subjected to an adverse employment action (such as termination or unfair discipline) and (in some cases) that a job or benefit was given to someone who is not in the protected class or you were treated lass favorably than workers not in your protected class.
How do I file a workplace discrimination complaint?
Before you file a lawsuit for harassment or discrimination, you must first file an administrative claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is in charge of enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws. This claim must be filed within 180 days of the alleged incident of discrimination or harassment.
What types of accommodations are bosses required to make for a disability?
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees who have disabilities and are capable of performing their jobs. Examples of reasonable accommodations could include flexible work schedules, desk modifications, special equipment and exceptions to some company policies. However, employers do not need to provide accommodations if they are able to prove they would cause undue hardship on the business.
Is an employer legally allowed to fire me if I am pregnant?
An employer with 15 or more employees cannot fire you because of your pregnancy. However, pregnancy alone does not disqualify you from termination. If your job performance or other actions unrelated to your pregnancy are enough to qualify you for termination, your pregnancy will not prevent it from happening.
What is workplace retaliation?
Retaliation involves an employer punishing an employee for exercising his or her rights. Employers are not, for example, allowed to fire you for blowing the whistle on company wrongdoing, or for filing a complaint about discrimination or harassment.
Contact a skilled Washington, D.C. workplace discrimination attorney
For more information about the steps you can take if you have been the victim of workplace discrimination, contact a trusted Washington, D.C. attorney at The Law Office of Nigel M. Atwell. We will fight to protect your rights.