What to Do If You're Experiencing Workplace Discrimination
Workplace discrimination and retaliation are illegal, but they're not always something that's easy to fight - and win. To obtain justice and compensation, you need the very best behind you.
Katz Banks Kumin attorneys are national leaders in workplace discrimination, in and out of the courtroom. We are committed to relentlessly fighting for our clients’ rights, and have the successful track record to prove it. We have represented clients from diverse backgrounds, dealing with discrimination and retaliation that includes failure to promote, harassment, physical assault, and everything in between. We are recognized as tough negotiators in settlement negotiations and in mediations, and when needed, we are highly respected trial attorneys for claims that must be resolved before a jury.
At Katz Banks Kumin, we understand that workplace discrimination and retaliation can disrupt and severely damage your professional and personal life. We fight to obtain resolutions for our clients that compensate them for the harm they have suffered and allow them to move forward with their lives and careers.
Know Your Rights
If you’re experiencing workplace discrimination or retaliation for opposing it, you don’t have to suffer in silence. There are many federal, state and local laws that protect your rights.
What is Workplace Disrimination and Harassment?
Various federal and state laws protect employees who have been discriminated against on the basis of a number of characteristics. These include sex/gender, age, race, color, national origin, disability, pregnancy, care giving responsibilities, sexual orientation, and political affiliation. Not every workplace hardship rises to the legal definition of discrimination, but these laws do cover a wide variety of actions that an employer might take for unlawful reasons, including failure to hire, failure to promote, failure to protect from ongoing and known harassment by co-workers or supervisors, and termination. The following are some forms of discrimination that are unlawful under state and/or federal law:
- Gender Discrimination
Gender discrimination is illegal, and there are federal, state and local laws designed to protect you. These laws prohibit discrimination based on sex with respect to all terms and conditions of their employment, including but not limited to: hiring, compensation, promotion, treatment on the job, termination. They also prevent employers from making employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance capability of individual employees based on gender. Federal, state, and local laws also prohibit retaliation against employees who oppose sex discrimination.
- Race Discrimination
Federal, state and local laws prohibit an employer from discriminating against an employee based on race. These laws protect employees from being treated less favorably, receiving fewer job or promotional opportunities, termination and more—including allowing an employee to be subjected to severe or pervasive harassment—based on race.
- National Origin Discrimination
Workplace discrimination due to national origin is against the law. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as certain state and local laws, make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of his or her national origin. These laws protect employees from being treated less favorably, receiving fewer job or promotional opportunities, termination and more—including allowing an employee to be subjected to severe or pervasive harassment—based on national origin.
- Age Discrimination
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits the mistreatment of workers age 40 and over because of their age. This includes all aspects of employment including hiring, promotions, training, salary, job assignments and termination. Workplace age discrimination also includes harassment based on age that creates a hostile or offensive work environment.
- Disability Discrimination
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state and local laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in all employment practices. An employer may not discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of that employee’s disability, nor may the employer deny the employee a reasonable workplace accommodation that would allow the employee to perform his or her job.
- Family Responsibility Discrimination
Family responsibility discrimination is an umbrella term for workplace discrimination based on biases about how employees with care giving responsibilities will or should act. When an employee’s family responsibilities change, as when a child is born or a family member falls ill and requires caretaking, employers may act upon discriminatory biases – assuming, for example, that the employee will be unreliable or less dedicated to the job.
- Political Affiliation Discrimination
Laws prohibiting political affiliation discrimination differ depending location and on public or private sector employment. While private sector employees are not federally protected against workplace discrimination based on political affiliation, there are some protections provided by state and local laws, including in the District of Columbia and Maryland’s Prince George’s and Howard Counties. For federal government employees, the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 provides some protection against discrimination on the basis of political affiliation, including coercion of a federal employee to perform a political activity, such as donating time or money to a party or candidate. It also protects federal employees from discrimination for refusing to participate in such political activities.
- Pregnancy Discrimination
Federal law, state laws and many local laws prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy for most employees. These laws protect you in the workplace from: less favorable treatment, fewer workplace opportunities, termination and refusal to hire. Similarly, these laws protect you if your employer denies your maternity leave or refuses to hire you because of your pregnancy.
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Many state and local laws protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered employees from discrimination in the workplace. Federal law provides protections against sexual orientation and gender identity workplace discrimination as well. Many of these laws protect employees against retaliation by their employers for opposing unlawful discriminatory practices or for participating in the process of correcting this discrimination.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as many state and local laws, prohibit employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their religion. This discrimination may come in the form of adverse employment actions, but may also include harassment based on an employee’s religion. Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations for their employees’ religious practices and beliefs unless the employer can demonstrate that such an accommodation would cause them an “undue hardship.”
In addition to the protections against direct discrimination, many state and federal laws protect employees who oppose discriminatory conditions at work and face retaliation for their actions. Unlawful retaliation can include refusal to hire, demotion, transfer to undesirable job duties, or termination of an employee who has filed a charge of discrimination within the company or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or has participated in the investigation of discrimination.
If you have experienced discrimination or have suffered retaliation for opposing your own unlawful treatment or that of a co-worker, contact Katz Banks Kumin to speak with one of our intake attorneys to discuss your case, without charge or further obligation.