In the 2022 fiscal year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 73,485 new discrimination charges, a 20% increase from the 2021 fiscal year. This increase shows that discrimination in the workplace is still a severe issue. If you have experienced discrimination in the workplace, you’ll want to discuss your situation with Jackson County, Missouri, employment rights attorneys to find out what legal options are available to you.

What Is the EEOC and How Does It Affect Workplace Discrimination Cases?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) establishes and enforces federal laws and regulations pertaining to workplace discrimination. It is the federal agency responsible for ensuring employers act according to the rules outlined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To do this, the EEOC must interpret workplace discrimination laws, establish regulations for federal government employees, litigate cases, and hold hearings.

Employees who have experienced discrimination in the workplace can file charges with the EEOC, and then the EEOC will investigate the charge and act to stop the discrimination. Sometimes employers are willing to make changes to improve the workplace; other times, the EEOC will sue the employer.

Let an Experienced Employment Rights Attorneys File Your EEOC Charge

If you are the victim of discrimination in the workplace and need to file a charge with the EEOC, hiring a lawyer to file the charge on your behalf can expedite the process and increase your chance of a successful outcome. Seeking justice for discrimination can be tedious and time-consuming, so you’ll want a legal professional to handle the situation.

Your Employer Will Be Represented

EEOC charges frequently end up in court, so your employer will hire defense attorneys immediately to protect themselves. Your employer’s attorneys will try to deny you the justice you deserve and prove that your charge isn’t substantiated. While the EEOC will investigate the charge, and if they determine discrimination is present, help resolve the issue, they technically don’t represent you in a legal sense.

Unethical employers count on wronged employees being unaware that they should seek legal guidance in addition to contacting the EEOC. While the EEOC is working to resolve the issue, you’ll have a better chance at a successful outcome if you have a dedicated attorney filing your charge and handling your case, especially if it escalates to court.

Charges Frequently Escalate to the Courtroom

The EEOC must investigate if an employer does not agree to resolve a discrimination issue. After the investigation is completed, you will likely receive a “Notice of Rights” letter from the EEOC, which grants you the ability to file a lawsuit against your employer in court. Choosing to wait until you receive this letter to hire a Jackson County, Missouri, employment attorney is ill-advised.

Once you’ve received the letter, you will have only 90 days to find a lawyer, have them evaluate and investigate your situation, and file a lawsuit with the court. That is a tiny window to complete several essential tasks. Having a lawyer working with you from the start ensures that they will be informed of all the details of your situation, and if your charge escalates to court, they will already have all the information they need to represent you effectively.

Charges Can Be Confusing to File

While you may be tempted to file a discrimination charge independently, resist that urge and allow an attorney to complete it. If you inadvertently omit information or misstate something in your charge, your errors could come back to hurt you if your case escalates to the courtroom. The same goes for all your communication regarding the situation with the EEOC or your employer.

Innocent mistakes could end up invalidating your charge. You can avoid this risk by hiring an employment lawyer to complete your charge and ensure you are protected throughout the filing, investigation, and litigation process.

Have You Experienced Workplace Discrimination?

Sometimes discrimination in the workplace is impossible to overlook. Other times you may not realize you’re being mistreated. Adding another layer to the confusion is the fact that it isn’t only employers who can discriminate against employees in the workplace.

Coworkers can discriminate against their fellow coworkers, and job applicants can experience discrimination from hiring managers or other supervisory staff. Being familiar with the types of discrimination that can occur in the workplace allows you to be prepared to take steps to defend yourself legally as soon as it happens, and be ready to aid coworkers who are being discriminated against.

Types of Workplace Discrimination

Age Discrimination

Employers aren’t allowed to specify a preferred age in job descriptions or promotional criteria to prevent age discrimination. An employee’s age cannot impact incentives, compensation, and benefits. Employees over the age of 40 are protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Disability Discrimination 

Individuals with disabilities are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, which states that employers cannot deny employment due to an individual’s disability, pay an unjust wage, or withhold reasonable accommodation if an individual is otherwise qualified to hold a particular position. Taking adverse action against candidates or employees due to their disabilities is illegal.

Gender and Sex Discrimination 

Numerous laws are designed to mandate that individuals receive “equal pay for equal work” regardless of sex or gender. Two of the most commonly cited are the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and these laws state that the requirements of the job, not the title, determine whether jobs are equivalent. Finally, specifying a preferred gender or sex in a job listing or description is illegal.

LGBTQ+ Discrimination

Gender identity and sexual orientation should not impact compensation, benefits, or continued employment.
If you are being discriminated against due to your gender identity or sexual orientation, don’t put off consulting with employment rights attorneys. 

Pregnancy Discrimination

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), passed in 1978, defends job applicants, employees, and non-delivering parents. To avoid committing discrimination against pregnant individuals, employers must treat pregnancy like any other temporary illness or non-chronic condition. Individuals cannot be denied a job, fired, or have their pay decreased because they are pregnant.

Race-Based Discrimination

Discrimination against an employee or job applicant based on race or skin color is illegal. Racial discrimination can occur when the victim and the person discriminating against them are of the same race or skin color. Additionally, employment policies that apply universally throughout a company and have a negative impact on individuals of a specific race or skin color can be unlawful if the policy isn’t necessary to the job. 

Religious Discrimination

It is illegal for companies to discriminate against employees based on their religious affiliations. In fact, businesses are responsible for making reasonable accommodations for employees that need space or time to participate in their spiritual practice.

Contact Employment Rights Attorneys in Jackson County, Missouri 

No one likes to think that discrimination is still an issue today, but unfortunately, it is. Workplace discrimination is still a significant problem many individuals face and can contribute to a stressful or hostile work environment.

At Holman Schiavone, LLC, we understand how frustrating and emotionally draining dealing with a discrimination claim can be. Let us handle your discrimination charge from the beginning and seek the justice you deserve for the harm you’ve experienced. Contact Holman Schiavone, LLC, today to discuss your situation with our caring and compassionate attorneys.