If you are being discriminated against at work for something that you have no control over, like your race or your sex, it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. All of our employment discrimination lawyers at Copeley Johnson & Groninger have seen discrimination first hand, and know how devastating it can be. Fortunately, there are laws to protect people from many kinds of employment discrimination.
Not all discrimination is unlawful. Sometimes an employer decides he just doesn’t like a particular person anymore. Maybe an employer doesn’t like hiring employees who dress a certain way. There is nothing wrong with this as long as the reason for the dislike isn’t based on some characteristic that is protected by law. What kinds of discrimination are unlawful?
Race discrimination: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes race discrimination unlawful for employers of 15 or more employees. The North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act says it is the policy of the state to protect people from discrimination on the basis of race and color, where the employer has 15 or more employees
National origin discrimination: Also prohibited by TitleVII and disfavored under state law.
Religious discrimination Also prohibited by TitleVII and disfavored under state law.
Sex discrimination: Discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited by federal law (Title VII), for workplaces with fifteen or more employees. But under state law, North Carolina law has limited the public policy to only protect people on the basis of “biological sex.” The courts have not yet ruled on what this means.
Age discrimination: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees over age 40 from workplace discrimination, where the employer has 15 or more employees. State law disfavors age discrimination.
Disability discrimination: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees who request them. The North Carolina Handicapped Persons Protection Act also prohibits disability discrimination.
Pregnancy discrimination: The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits employers of 15 or more employees from discriminating on the basis of pregnancy, which the Act says is sex discrimination.
Attorneys Leto Copeley and Valerie Johnson (aka the “Law Sisters“) even have a podcast about Sexual Harassment in the workplace. Learn ways you can protect yourself from Sexual Harassment by listening to their podcast series, Sex at Work, available on the Law Sisters website, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Topics of some episodes include (click on the image to listen to the podcast):
Most of the federal laws above make it clear that employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees who complain about unlawful discrimination. In other words, retaliation is discrimination too.
To protect your rights under federal law, a workplace discrimination lawyer should make sure that your statute of limitations is protected, which means meeting strict deadlines. Each case is different, but in most cases of discrimination, if you want to make a claim under federal law you must go the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. For state law discrimination claims, you may or may not have a right to go to a state agency.
We suggest that you consult with an employment discrimination attorney BEFORE you go to a government agency to make a claim. There may be reasons unique to your case that will affect the timing of what you should do.
The clients who have been helped by our employment discrimination lawyers include:
- Kim, who alleged that she was discharged on account of her race and her sex after she complained about race discrimination and sexual harassment. She also made a retaliation claim.
- Jesse, who contended that after he had chest pain on the job, he was fired because the company said he had a heart condition. He turned out to have gastroesophageal reflux instead but the company refused to give him his job back. He brought a charge with the EEOC for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. After several months his former employer settled with him by paying his back wages and other expenses.
- Nancy, who alleged that she was sexually harassed on the job by her employer, and alleged that her employer encouraged independent contractors to harass her also. A lawsuit was filed and the case was resolved.
- Numerous employees who have contended that they were being demoted or discharged because of their age, when their employers downsized.
If you need help from an employment discrimination attorney, call us today at 919-240-4054.