American employers have a legal and moral duty to respect the individual characteristics of their applicants and employees. If you are one of the millions of Americans who have endured workplace discrimination, talk the attorneys at Clifford Law Offices.
The attorneys at Clifford Law Offices believe all employees in the Chicago area have the right to a workplace free from discrimination based on their protected individual characteristics. Although it may seem difficult to prove workplace discrimination, our attorneys know how to build strong cases and uncover the different types of compensation available to our clients, thanks to decades of experience with employment law and civil claims in the Chicago area.
Employers may not discriminate based on protected characteristics like age, race, skin color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or medical status. When an employee suffers the negative effects of discrimination, it can be difficult to identify tangible evidence that proves discrimination has indeed taken place. The right attorney can help an employee understand the effects of discrimination and the options for legal recourse available after discriminatory incidents.
Types of Workplace Discrimination Claims
The three most common types of workplace discrimination are:
- Discriminatory treatment or intent. This means an employer treats an employee worse than others due to his or her protected identity characteristics like sex, race, or religion.
- Disparate impact. This applies to cases in which an employee suffers a more severe effect of an employment rule or policy compared to other employees due to his or her protected characteristics. Seemingly neutral policies may have disproportionately adverse effects on certain groups of people as well. For example, if an employer gives an employee a warning about tardiness, but another employee receives a suspension for the same or lighter offense, the employer may be discriminating against that employee based on a protected characteristic.
- Retaliation. Employees have the right to perform protected actions in good faith. Some examples include filing workers’ compensation claims after sustaining injuries on the job, testifying against an employer in an official legal matter in response to a subpoena, or reporting the employer to a government oversight agency for a workplace safety violation or compliance violation. Employees who take such actions in good faith may not suffer negative consequences like termination, pay docking, transfer, or demotion simply for performing protected actions.
An employee who experiences workplace discrimination may have trouble securing evidence that discrimination has taken place. Direct evidence like emails, text messages, voicemails, or verbal statements made with discriminatory language is uncommon as employers with prejudices typically become adept at hiding those prejudices and masking their decisions with seemingly reasonable excuses.
Circumstantial evidence may be necessary in some workplace discrimination cases. For example, an employee may need to prove that his or her protected status was the reason behind an employment-related decision. If an employer fires an employee who is a member of a protected class and hires someone who is not a member of that protected class as a replacement, this could be circumstantial evidence of workplace discrimination, if the employee with protected status was qualified for the job and the employer had no reasonable justification for firing him or her.
Filing a Discrimination Claim
Before an employee can proceed with a lawsuit for workplace discrimination, he or she will need to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC investigates workplace harassment and discrimination claims and provides claimants with Notices of Right to Sue if the agency has reason to believe that discrimination has taken place. Once the claimant receives a Notice of Right to Sue, he or she only has 90 days to act.
Get Legal Assistance
Handling a workplace discrimination claim can be stressful and complicated, but the right attorney can make a big difference in the outcome for an employee in this situation. The attorneys at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, IL, have more than 30 years of experience handling civil claims in a variety of practice areas. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and we can let you know what to expect from a discrimination lawsuit.