Federal law Prohibits many types of Discrimination in the Workplace
Those laws include:
- Title VII, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. It generally applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), which protects certain applicants and employees 40 years of age and older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment. The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including state and local governments.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) provides protection to employees with certain disabilities. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments.
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII. Women affected by pregnancy or related conditions must be treated in the same manner as other applicants or employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.
Discrimination under these laws can take several forms, including firing, demotion, failure to hire, and harassment.
These four laws will also protect an employee from retaliation because she made a claim or “backed up” another employee on a claim.
- Section 1981 of the United States Code also prohibits race discrimination in the enforcement of contracts, including contracts of employment.
This is not an exclusive list, but these are the most commonly enforced laws.
What Is The Role Of The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission?
Before you can file a lawsuit under Title VII, the ADEA, the ADA, or the PDA, you must first file a charge with the EEOC. The EEOC will then investigate and, in many instances, attempt to resolve the dispute. If it cannot, the EEOC will give you a Right to Sue letter allowing you to go to court.
Generally speaking, you must file a charge with the EEOC within 180 days of the act of discrimination. Further, once you receive a Right to Sue letter, you will have 90 days in which to file a lawsuit.
You do not have to file an EEOC charge to enforce your rights under Section 1981 of the United States Code.
Do You Need A Lawyer At the EEOC Level?
The answer is “no”, but at the same time, a lawyer at that stage can help you avoid pitfalls that may later impair your ability to successfully pursue a lawsuit.
If I File A Lawsuit, What Damages Can I Recover?
Each case is different, but depending on the facts, the following are damages that can be awarded in employment discrimination cases:
- Back pay (meaning income that has already been lost, including benefits)
- Front pay (income that can reasonably be expected to be lost in the future, including benefits)
- Emotional distress damages
- Other provable damages for injuries
- In some cases, punitive damages
Reinstatement to your job is also possible.
If you have been the victim of workplace discrimination, our attorneys are available to assess your case. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call Pepper & Odom Law Firm in Mississippi or in Alabama at 601-202-1111, .