Jacksonville Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Florida and federal law both protect employees against workplace discrimination. While employees have legal rights, this does not always stop employers from acting in ways that violate those rights as well as the law. When an employee knows their rights, they can assert them and hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions.
Without the protections provided by employment laws, victims of discrimination would not have recourse when a boss fired them for getting pregnant, demoted them because of their age, or refused to hire them based on their sexual orientation. Fortunately, when these events occur, the victims of discrimination can fight back.
If you believe that an employer or potential employer discriminated against you in the workplace, contact a Jacksonville employment discrimination lawyer to learn your options for pursuing a legal claim. At the Law Offices of Carol M. Galloway, we take pride in representing victims of workplace discrimination. Call us today at 904-694-5489 to learn how we can help you.
Classes That the Law Protects from Discrimination
Throughout the United States, it is illegal to discriminate based on the following:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- Citizenship status
- Age (for workers ages 40 and older)
- Genetic information
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is in charge of overseeing these laws and regulating workplace discrimination. Workers who face discrimination based on these categories can file a claim with the EEOC.
Florida law provides a few additional categories in its discrimination laws, including marital status or diagnosis of HIV, AIDS, or sickle cell anemia. In Florida, the Commission on Human Resources (FCHR) enforces these laws.
Employees who face workplace discrimination might have the option to file based on federal or state law. It is important to understand the benefits of either option. Contacting an attorney is a good way to learn how the laws apply in a person’s specific case.
The Laws Do Not Cover All Employers
Discrimination laws typically do not apply to very small businesses. Florida anti-discrimination laws cover any employer that has at least fifteen employees. Federal laws also typically cover only employers with fifteen or more employees, although there are certain exceptions. Every employer, regardless of size, must provide equal pay for men and women. Employers with at least four employees cannot discriminate based on citizenship status, and age discrimination prohibitions only apply to employers with twenty or more employees.
Filing a Claim with the EEOC or FCHR
Employees should not hesitate to speak to an attorney right away after suffering suspected workplace discrimination because there are strict time limits on these claims. There are specific time limits in which to file, and no one should delay getting that process started. Failing to file on time can mean that the employee will lose the opportunity to pursue an action against the employer.
Once the person files a claim based on federal discrimination laws, they will file with the EEOC. After receiving the claim, the EEOC might ask the employer to respond to the claim or answer certain questions. The employer will receive notice within ten days from when the claimant files. The EEOC may ask that the employee and the employer agree to mediate the conflict. The EEOC can also dismiss a claim for technical reasons.
The EEOC can choose to investigate the claim by collecting documents related to the case and interviewing witnesses such as the claimant’s co-workers. The EEOC might determine that the employer did discriminate, in which case they will likely reach out to that employer to determine whether they are open to voluntarily settling the claim. If the employer refuses, the EEOC can take the claim to court. If the EEOC does not find the evidence to prove discrimination or chooses not to pursue an action on a claimant’s behalf, they will issue a “right to sue” letter. It is important to note that the employee must have a right to sue letter before filing a complaint with the court.
When employees file claims based on Florida state law, they will file with the FCHR. The FCHR can decide to take up the claim, deny the claim, or issue a right to sue letter. Again, this is a necessary step if the claimant wants to file in court.
Damages in an Employment Discrimination Claim
A plaintiff in a successful employment discrimination claim can recover monetary damages and other potential remedies as well. Among the monetary damages are back pay following reinstatement, front pay for workers who cannot return to their position, and compensatory damages for the harm caused by the discrimination. In limited cases where the conduct was particularly egregious, the employee might have the ability to seek punitive damages, which punish the defendant.
The damages available vary based on the type of case and the facts of the discrimination. Sometimes, monetary damages are not the only solution. The court might order that the employer cease certain conduct, reinstate, promote, provide a raise, or offer accommodations to the worker, among other possible remedies.
Hiring a Jacksonville Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Discrimination in the workplace can be an emotional event and a financially damaging one. Employees have rights for a reason, but without understanding those rights, workers can become vulnerable. A Jacksonville employment discrimination lawyer can help you understand what options you have for fighting back against workplace discrimination. Call the Law Offices of Carol M. Galloway today at 904-694-5489 to learn how we can help.