The United States and most states have made it illegal to discriminate against people in the workplace based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or trans status, and pregnancy), national origin, age, genetic information, and disability status if a person is qualified and capable. Plaintiffs can receive money damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination. It is illegal to discriminate for any of the above reasons in any aspect of employment, including:
- hiring and firing
- compensation, assignment, or classification of employees
- transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall
- job advertisements
- use of company facilities
- training and apprenticeship programs
- fringe benefits
- pay, retirement plans, and disability leave
- other terms and conditions of employment
Discrimination laws also defend workers from harassment based on any of the protected classes listed above, from employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about a person in a protected class, and from discrimination based on their marriage to, or association with, others in a protected class.
In some cases, discrimination laws require employers to do more than simply refrain from intentionally discriminating against a member of a protected class. If you are disabled or a religious practitioner, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to allow you to work if otherwise qualified and capable. This is a more nuanced inquiry – employers will not be forced to take on “undue” difficulties or expenses to accommodate employees or applicants. What is “undue” will depend on an employer’s size, financial resources, location, and other relevant factors.
There are many kinds of relief available for those who have suffered employment discrimination, whether intentional or caused by practices that have a discriminatory effect, including:
- back pay
- front pay
- reasonable accommodation
- money damages for emotional distress
- other actions that will make an individual “whole” (in the condition s/he would have been but for the discrimination)
Remedies for a successful litigant can also include attorneys’ fees and other costs of litigation.
If you believe you have been the victim of employment discrimination and need representation, we would be honored if you would contact us to fight for your rights. Your initial consultation is free and you will not pay a fee unless we get you compensation.