The U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced a record number of employment discrimination cases in 2011. In addition, two separate pieces on allegations of local religious discrimination were run in the Kansas City Star. Unfortunately, it appears rates of discrimination and harassment continue to grow on both a national and local scale.

Local Case Causing Community Uproar

An ex-officer is suing his former employer citing religious discrimination when the police department refused requests to return to work after his wife succumbed to a month-long illness without seeing a doctor, reports the Kansas City Star.

There is speculation the wife’s death is related to complications from a difficult labor that resulted in the death of their newborn daughter a month earlier. The deaths sparked a public outcry, with the community asking how a public servant could justify not providing proper emergency care to his own family members.

Employment Discrimination Based on Religious Beliefs

The officer stated that his religion required a focus on prayer and worship as opposed to medical interventions. Although religious discrimination laws require employers to accommodate various religious practices, they do not require retaining employees whose beliefs interfere with the job.

In this instance, concern was voiced by the community regarding how the officer would respond to emergency situations.

Many Forms of Employment Discrimination

Although the recent local case brings attention to this form of discrimination, it is only one type in a broad spectrum of possibilities. The most common forms of employment discrimination according to the EEOC are:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Age

Employees are protected from these forms of discrimination through the Missouri Human Rights Act.

Filing a Claim and Remedies Available

The first step to take when you believe your employer may have acted adversely against you based on your age, race, disability or sex, is to promptly file a claim with the appropriate agency. In Missouri, complaints are filed with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and must be filed within 180 days of the discriminatory act. Once filed, an investigation begins and a determination is made.

If discrimination is present, a hearing will be held. Following the hearing, if an affirmative ruling is issued remedies are ordered and can include compensation for lost wages and damages for pain and suffering. When no discrimination is found the case is dismissed.

The process can be difficult to navigate, and the guidance of an experienced employment discrimination attorney is recommended to ensure all legal rights and remedies are protected.