Can You Sue Your Employer for Discrimination and Harassment?

Two businesspeople bullying a sad colleague that is sitting in her workplace at office

There is no room for discrimination and harassment in the workplace or in any part of the world, for that matter. But we cannot deny the fact that in many situations, discrimination happens every day. In fact, it happens most of the times in work areas whether the discriminating act is committed by an employer or a fellow employee.

If you think that you have been discriminated by an employer, you can contact an employment attorney in Denver, Colorado so that you can be guided accordingly on the filing of proper cases. To sue an employer for discrimination, you must file the case with a state or federal administrative agency. It is not advisable to do this on your own. Hire a competent and qualified lawyer who can represent you before the agency.

Understanding Discrimination Law

The first thing that your lawyer will need to identify is whether you are part of a protected class such as race, color, gender, sex, age, pregnancy, religion, genetic information, sexual orientation, and national origin. State and federal laws protect members of these groups from discrimination and harassment. This means that an employer cannot berate or treat them unfairly on the basis of their being members of the protected class.

Identifying the Discriminate Act

There are three categories that a discriminate act can fall under. It can be under a discriminatory intent or treatment, which means that the employer unfairly has treated the employee because the worker belongs to one of the protected class. It also falls under disparate impact wherein an employer chooses to enact a company policy that has a disparate effect on the worker. Lastly, a discriminate act can be retaliatory. This can happen when an employer retaliates against you for making a complaint against labor practices and reporting safety hazards.

Talking with Workplace Managers and Bosses

Before you file a complaint before a federal court, make sure that you have exhausted all your administrative remedies. You can do this in two ways. First, talk to your bosses and any important decision-makers in the company about your complaints. If they don’t do anything about your complaint, you can file an administrative charge before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You cannot file a lawsuit without first filing an administrative charge. If you do so, your lawsuit will be invalid.

Researching Your State Laws

Stressed employee

In some cases, state laws are more protective of the protected class than federal laws. In some states, age discrimination can happen even to people younger than 40 years old. You can perform a Google search to know about your state laws or you can consult a lawyer.

Remember: Federal anti-discrimination laws do not cover all employers. An employer usually needs to have a certain number of people before they fall under the anti-discrimination laws. As an example, federal laws prohibit sex and racial discrimination only for businesses that have at least 15 workers active for at least 20 calendar weeks in the last two years.

While you can do your own research on state and federal laws, filing a lawsuit for discrimination and harassment is often a complex web of judicial red tape. After you have assessed your readiness to face your employer in court, make sure to contact a competent lawyer who’s an expert in discrimination cases. The lawyer should guide you throughout the whole process and make effective decisions on your behalf.

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