It is 2018. Women are working in all levels of business and in all industries. Yet, employment discrimination based on sex is sadly alive and well, and it remains one of the most common forms of discrimination. Under federal law, employers with 15 or more employees are subject to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).
Recent years have seen countless allegations of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination, from numerous allegations of sexual harassment at Fox to the even more recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein. It seems that discrimination and harassment are still an unsettling presence for women in the workforce. If you or someone you know suspects discrimination, you should immediately contact a Birmingham employment discrimination attorney who will fight to protect your rights and your career.
What is Protected Under the Civil Rights Act?
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that protects Americans from unequal treatment under the law. According to Title VII, an employer may not discriminate against someone based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The law does not apply to all employers.
What Employers are Subject to the Civil Rights Act?
Generally, employers with 15 or more employees are subject to the provisions in Title VII. Of course, this is not the end of the exceptions. There are special rules that apply to labor organizations and government employers.
What is the EEOC, and How does it Protect My Rights?
EEOC stands for “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.” This is a federal agency charged with enforcing the rights granted under the Civil Rights Act. The EEOC accepts Charges of Discrimination and does a preliminary investigation of the claims. If the EEOC finds cause to believe that an employer discriminated it can bring a lawsuit on an employee’s behalf. In most cases, the EEOC does not find enough information to warrant filing a lawsuit on its own. This does not mean that an employee does not have a case or that the employer did not discriminate. In those cases, the employee will receive a Notice of Right to Sue which means the employee must file a lawsuit within 90 days. Once the employee receives that letter it is very important that the employee request a copy of the EEOC’s file and find an attorney as soon as possible.
Can My Employer Retaliate Against Me?
Sadly, this happens all too often. Your employer may indeed retaliate. However, doing so is unlawful and can subject your employer to significant liability. If you bring a claim based on discrimination and are subsequently fired, you could be due compensation. In fact, when it comes to federal employees, retaliation is one of the most common allegations, according to a 2015 report by the EEOC.
What Constitutes Retaliation?
An employer retaliates when it takes action against an employee because the employee engaged in protected activity. Generally, that action the employer takes must be negative.
Some examples of prohibited actions are:
- Firing the employee
- Severe verbal or physical harassment of the employee
- Writing an employee up
- Lower performance appraisals
- Denying the employee promotions
- Change in job duties
- Reassignment to a “less desirable” tasks
- Disciplinary suspensions
- Scrutinizing an employee more heavily than other employees
The list of things that are protected from retaliation:
- Filing a claim for discrimination
- Acting as a witness in a claim for discrimination
- Testifying in discrimination case
- Declining to participate in discriminatory conduct, even if ordered to do so
- Refusing sexual advances or attempting to stop someone else from making unwelcome sexual advances
- Asserting your right to religious, pregnancy, or disability related accommodations
What Happens if I Think I am Being Discriminated Against?
There are many state and federal laws that may apply, and every situation is unique. Without expert legal assistance from the outset of your case, you risk making serious missteps that could cost you a lot of money, or even your entire career. If you suspect that you have been the victim of discrimination, you should immediately contact a local Birmingham employment discrimination attorney and discuss the facts of your case.
Find out whether your employer is subject to federal Title VII protections, and make sure that you have the guidance you need to succeed. Remember, discrimination continues to be a problem in America, and discrimination based on sex is just one type of discrimination. Do not delay. Contact the Five Points Law Group today.