Just a few weeks ago, Lowe’s, a national home renovation and hardware retailer, agreed to pay $700,000 and provide other compensation to resolve a sexual misconduct discrimination case filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As you noticed, since you’re reading this, discrimination in the workplace is a very real thing, and it affects many people every day. To understand your rights as an employee and how to protect yourself, you need to know what types of discrimination are illegal, how they affect you and others in your workplace, and what steps you can take to stop it.
This article will explain everything you need to know about filing an employment discrimination lawsuit, from understanding your rights under federal law and collecting evidence for your case through the administrative process.
Background Checks Can Often Lead to Discrimination
Here’s how it works. A company uses an outside vendor to perform background checks on their candidates, and then the company uses that information to decide which applicants get jobs. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission encourages companies to conduct ethical background checks, so they don’t end up discriminating against applicants based on race and gender.
There are several hazards, ranging from not having enough information and risking a negligent hiring case to discovering information that may expose an organization to a discrimination claim. This mainly happens when the hiring company uses background check services that aren’t able to navigate this delicate balance.
Do You Have a Valid Claim?
What Is a Valid Claim?
Before you can file a discrimination lawsuit, you must have a valid claim. In other words, your case must be legally sound and supported by evidence that proves your employer’s actions were illegal. To determine whether or not your matter qualifies as an actionable offense under federal law or state statute, it’s important to determine which type of discrimination you’re experiencing.
What Are the Different Types of Discrimination?
Discrimination takes many forms, but these are the main categories.
- Disparate treatment
- Disparate impact
- Hostile work environment
- Failure to accommodate
Consult With an Employment Attorney Specializing in Discrimination Cases
When you are facing a discrimination lawsuit, you must consult with a discrimination attorney who specializes in employment litigation. An attorney can explain your rights, help you understand the nature of your case, and guide you through what steps to take next.
They can also help estimate how much the process will cost and how long it might take. If possible, try to find an attorney with experience with similar cases to yours.
Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution
The percentage of civil lawsuits settling before trial is quite high. According to some estimates, 90% or more. Others claim as much as 95% or more.
If you are considering filing a discrimination lawsuit, it is important to understand how long the process can take. In addition to the time it takes for your case to go through court, many steps must be completed before the trial begins.
It’s important to keep in mind that even if you win your lawsuit, this doesn’t mean that your employer will immediately agree with your verdict and pay damages. They may instead appeal or refuse to comply with any orders the court has issued during the trial.
Negotiating alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options like mediation or arbitration might be a good way for both sides in a dispute like this one because it can avoid going through lengthy litigation and its other benefits.
ADR methods often result in less expensive settlements than having an all-out battle where legal fees pile up quickly on either side. These methods are often faster than traditional litigation processes too.
Gather Your Evidence
The first step to filing a discrimination lawsuit is gathering evidence. This means being thorough and keeping track of all relevant events, conversations, and documents.
Keep a record of all relevant events. Dates, times, descriptions of the event, or discriminatory actions. If you have witnesses who were present at the time and can support your claims with their statements, be sure to include them in your case as well.
Keep a log of all conversations with your employer about discrimination. This includes emails or text messages, if possible. Also, keep copies of any documents that are relevant to your case, such as performance reviews.
Know More About Your Rights
The best way to stop workplace discrimination is to make an effort to understand what’s happening and how it can be stopped. If you want to know more about your rights, there are a few steps you can take.
If you feel like something has happened in the workplace that violates your rights and was related to discrimination, take some time and investigate this before filing a complaint.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal body that reviews workplace discrimination allegations. It may also work with employers so that they can avoid future problems by offering training programs for their employees. In FY 2021, the EEOC filed 124 lawsuits with 116 merits suits.
Another useful resource is the Fair Employment Practice Act (FEPA), which protects against harassment at work or when looking for employment. The FEPA also requires employers with 15 or more employees on their payrolls to post notices informing workers about these rights under state and federal laws when hiring new staff.
Decide Which Federal Laws to File Your Claim Under
The first step in deciding which federal law you should use is to determine if you are a federal or private employee. If you are a federal employee, your claim must be filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
If you are a private sector employee without connection to any government agency, then Title VII is not an option. Instead, you must file under either section 504 of the ADA or section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act.
Submit Your Claim to the EEOC or Fair Employment Practices Agency (FEPA)
After you’ve filed a complaint with your employer, the next step is to submit your claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or Fair Employment Practices Agency (FEPA). These are government-regulated entities that investigate claims of discrimination and harassment.
The EEOC can be reached by phone at 800-669-4000 or 800-669-6820 (TTY), Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 6 pm ET. The FEPA has an online form that is easy to fill out, print, and mail, along with any supporting documentation.
Wait for the EEOC or FEPA to Investigate
- You may have to wait 6 months to a year before the EEOC or FEPA can investigate your claim.
- If the agency finds that you have a valid discrimination claim, they will then try to resolve it through mediation.
If You Want to Sue, You’ll Need a “Right to Sue” Letter From the EEOC
If you want to sue, you’ll need a “right to sue” letter from the EEOC. This is essentially the green light that lets you know it’s OK to bring your case to court.
The EEOC will notify you of their decision in writing and give you 30 days to decide whether or not to appeal the charge. If they determine that discrimination occurred, they’ll notify your employer of their findings and give them 90 days before filing suit on your behalf.
They may also offer mediation services if both parties are willing. If it’s been over 90 days since the EEOC made a final decision about your charge, it’s too late for them to help you pursue legal action against an employer. You will need to hire an attorney instead.
We hope this post has helped you understand the steps in filing a workplace discrimination lawsuit. It can be intimidating, but if you are being discriminated against at work, you deserve to have your rights protected. You should know that by taking action now, you won’t just help yourself but also other workers facing similar situations.