Legal Services for Employment Discrimination
Employers cannot legally discriminate against employees on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a veteran. Employees who oppose illegal employment discrimination – such as an employee who complains about illegal discrimination or one who participates in an investigation of illegal discrimination – are also protected against retaliation.
Over the years, the firm has handled a significant number of discrimination cases—from employees suffering sexual harassment in the workplace to individuals who were let go when their employer discovered they were pregnant or had cancer, or would need additional accommodations for a progressive medical condition. The discrimination can be overt, such as an employee who finds a noose in their work area. Often, it is more subtle: the supervisor who never seems to promote minorities.
Employees may have a discrimination claim if they are subject to a negative employment action (such as not being hired or promoted, or being fired) because of their protected class. They can also have a discrimination claim because of a hostile work environment.
There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about what makes a work environment hostile or abusive enough to be illegal. To be a hostile work environment, there must be some form of conduct — based on a protected factor — that is either severe enough or pervasive enough to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment. A single racist statement might be severe enough to make the work environment hostile. A steady background noise of sexual innuendo might be pervasive enough. On the other hand, a manager who yells at everybody all the time might not amount to hostility based on a protected factor, or severe enough, or pervasive enough to make a claim of discrimination.
With the exception of Equal Pay Act cases, discrimination plaintiffs must first file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC or the Virginia Attorney General’s Division of Human Rights. An employee is entitled to have an attorney guiding them through this process; in general, the earlier the attorney is engaged, the better.
Sometimes cases can be resolved during the time when the charge is with the agency; most of the time, charges proceed to mediation or trial. While most of our cases settle before they go to trial, our attorneys also have significant trial and appellate experience.
- The Virginia Human Rights Act
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
- Civil Rights Act of 1866 (Section 1981)
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act
- GINA (Genetic Discrimination)
Every claim is governed by a statute of limitations, some of which are very short. You should always act promptly on your claim because once the statute of limitation expires, the claim is gone forever.