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Currently Browsing: Workplace Issues

Addressing Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

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Sex discrimination in the workplace is still a problem in this day and age, despite the multiple laws penalizing it, particularly Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act. While the laws are carefully phrased so that it applies to both men and women, most people tend to associate this form of discrimination as disproportionately affecting women. If you believe that you are being discriminated against because of your gender, whether you are a man or a woman, you do have legal options available to you. There are venues for addressing the issue on both the state and federal levels, and if that doesn’t work, you may be able to take your case to court.

Sex-based discrimination in the workplace includes issues of hiring, termination, compensation, job training, promotion, sexual harassment, pregnancy-related discrimination, and retaliation for opposing, complaining, or suing for sex discrimination. Any of these issues may eventually constitute the basis of a sexual discrimination lawsuit.

Will I Need a Lawyer?

The laws pertaining to sex discrimination are manifold, which also increases the complexities for filing a complaint. It would be wise to retain the services of a sex discrimination lawyer to ensure that the legitimacy of your complaint is not compromised by ignorance of the technicalities of the law.

For instance, a victim of discrimination is directed to lodge any discrimination complaints with the state commission on discrimination or the federal United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before bringing it to court. However, there is a statute of limitations of 180 days for filing with the EEOC unless a complaint was filed before the state commission, in which case the EEOC statutory limit is extended to 300 days.

Federal law requires that a plaintiff exhaust all possible administrative recourse before filing a lawsuit. Failure to file with the EEOC before the statutory period is over may mean that you may not file a lawsuit under Title VII or the Equal Pay Act, depending on your particular case.

Identifying Racial Discrimination

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It is a sad fact that in many workplaces, racial discrimination has not been eradicated; it has only been cleverly camouflaged. This is not to say that it is rampant, but rather, that it still exists. Employers who discriminate based on race and ethnicity know better than to invite trouble by being in-your-face about their biases. Sometimes employers do pre-employment testing to see what ethnicity the potential employee is. It is becoming harder and harder to prove discrimination unless a pattern or trend emerges. By then, it may be too late for early victims to file a complaint. Nevertheless, there are some indications that can warn you if you are being discriminated against.

Signs of Discrimination

Employers are not allowed to ask about the race of the applicant during an interview unless it is in the nature of affirmative action or as part of a fact sheet, and even then it should have no bearing on the decision to hire someone. Even if it did, there would be no proving it as an employer may simply cite other reasons for their decisions. It is only when a trend emerges that racial discrimination may be suspected. The same applies when it comes to promotions, compensation, training, and other benefits of employment.

In some instances, employers implement policies, practices, and rules that inadvertently discriminate against certain races and ethnicities. It may not be intentional, but it is the responsibility of the employer to validate such policies, practices, and rules so that it is equitable for all current and prospective employees. This pattern of behavior, whether deliberate or not on the part of the employer, can be used to prove racial discrimination in some instances.

Addressing Racial Discrimination

If you suspect or believe that you are a victim of racial discrimination, present the facts to a discrimination lawyer who has experience handling cases of this nature. He or she would have an intimate knowledge of provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and may be able to help you fight for compensation for the wrongs you have been forced to endure.

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