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Employment Discrimination FAQs

Employment Discrimination FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions Around Employment Discrimination

Who Is Protected From Employment Discrimination?

Employment Discrimination Attorney: Typically, employers discriminate against employees based on their: RaceReligionAge (over 40); DisabilityGenderMilitary Status; or National Origin. Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against an employee for engaging in certain protected activities, such as taking Family Medical Leave, filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim, complaining of Wage Violations, or making other Whistleblower Claims. Some states have laws that prevent discrimination based on sexual preference or orientation (against gays and lesbians), but Ohio currently does not have a directly applicable law addressing such employment discrimination. [Read more about each protected class by clicking on the provided link].

What Laws Protect Against Employment Discrimination?

Employment Discrimination Attorney: There are both federal and Ohio law laws that make it unlawful to discriminate against employees based on the above-protected classes, including: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and related Ohio statutes such as R.C. § 4112.99R.C. § 4123.90R.C. § 4112.02(N)R.C. § 4112.05, and R.C. § 4112.14. Each employment discrimination law has different statutes of limitations. Some give you 60 days while others allow six years to bring a claim. Thus, if you have any questions about whether or not you may have an employment discrimination claim you should call the right employment law attorneys immediately.

When Does Employment Discrimination Occur?

Employment Discrimination Attorney: Employment discrimination occurs when an employer takes an adverse employment action against you because you fall into a protected class. Adverse employment actions include, but are not limited to, demotions, terminations, reductions in pay or benefits, reductions in status, failures to promote, less-desirable work assignments, and undesired transfers. When religious discrimination or disability discrimination is involved, it may also be illegal for an employer to deny reasonable accommodations to an employee. For instance, absent significant hardship to the employer, an employer cannot require a person to violate his or her religious beliefs such as working on the Sabbath, eating forbidden food, or insisting that they remove religious articles of clothing. Likewise, an employer is required to accommodate the disabilities of its employees.

What Does An Employee Have To Do To Prove Unlawful Discrimination?

Employment Discrimination Attorney: Employees do not have to prove that discrimination was the employer’s only motivation but simply that discriminatory bias played some role in the employment decisions. See Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa (a plaintiff must only show that discrimination was a “motivating factor.”). Employment discrimination can be proved by direct evidence or indirect evidence. Direct evidence of employment discrimination typically involves an admission by a manager, including comments such: “This is man’s job,” or “I wouldn’t trust a black person to do that job.” Using indirect evidence of employment discrimination is more common. Under the indirect evidence method, the employee starts by showing that he or she was qualified for a job or the promotion, or was performing satisfactorily; and that the job/promotion went to an individual outside the protected class in question.

How Do Employers Respond To Claims Of Discrimination?

Employment Discrimination Attorney: Once an employee shows that he or she is a member of a protected class and that the employee suffered an adverse employment action, the burden of proof shifts to the employer to state a legitimate lawful reason for the adverse employment action. For example, the employer may try to point to substandard performance, missed attendance, downsizing, or a dispute or altercation with a manager or co-worker.

What Happens Next?

Employment Discrimination Attorney: The employee has the opportunity to present evidence that the reason stated by the employer is the pretext, which is a legal term simply meaning a lie by the employer to cover up the employer’s true discriminatory intent. Pretext can be shown through inconsistent reasons from the employer, statistics, documents (including emails and personnel files), testimony, statements, and a variety of other types of evidence disputing the reasons given by the employer. For example, if the employee is told at the time of termination that the reason is downsizing, but then hires three more employees the week after the termination, there is evidence of pretext. Alternatively, if the employer states that the employee was not reaching certain statistical requirements, but records obtained through discovery during the lawsuit show that other employees were statistically lower, there is evidence of pretense. Our employment discrimination lawyers also regularly see employers change their reason for termination and sometimes repeatedly. This is also evidence of pretext.

What Happens If The Employee Can Show Pretext?

Employment Discrimination Attorney: Once admissible evidence of pretext is shown, a question of fact is created. This is a very important point in employment discrimination cases because it means that the case will proceed to a jury. An overwhelming majority of employment discrimination cases get settled. Some employers will wait to see if they can get the case dismissed by arguing that there are no questions of fact and that the case should be decided as a matter of law. Because employers and their employment defense attorneys know that our employment discrimination lawyers are willing and have been very successful at trying cases to juries, there is usually another round of settlement discussions – sometimes insisted upon by the court. If the case cannot be settled, we take the case to the jury.

What Happens When The Employee Wins A Discrimination Lawsuit?

Employment Discrimination Attorney: It depends on the type of claim and the goals of each employee, but generally, back wages for lost or reduced wages, reinstatement, and promotion are available. Additionally, the court can make the employer take certain actions to prevent such discriminatory conduct moving forward. Depending on the type of discrimination claim, the court may also award attorney fees.

What If The Manager Discriminated Against The Employee Without The Owner’s Knowledge?

Employment Discrimination Attorney: The owner, CEO, or even human resources (HR) does not need to know about the discrimination. The employer is vicariously liable for the acts of the manager. In the employment discrimination setting, vicarious liable simply means that the employer is responsible for the acts of its managers done within the scope of their employment, even unlawful discriminatory acts contrary to the employer’s stated anti-discrimination policies. Thus, just because an employer has a handbook that says, “we do not discriminate,” or some similar anti-discrimination language, the employee does not get off the hook because its managers committed employment discrimination.

Is The Manager Liable For The Discrimination?

Employment Discrimination Attorney: Under most Ohio and Federal employment discrimination laws a manager is directly liable for his or her discriminatory conduct. While an employee can choose not to sue a manager directly, there are a lot of good reasons to hold the manager responsible for his or her conduct.

Should I Consult An Attorney?

Employment Discrimination Attorney: Always. Especially when our employment discrimination lawyers offer free and confidential initial consultations, it is always better to find out now whether or not you have a claim or how to strengthen your claim than to wait until it is too late. Call your right attorney today.

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DISCLAIMER: These answers do not constitute legal advice or guidance.