employment law attorney
About 20 years ago, I became interested in representing clients who had been harassed or fired at work illegally. Since then I have handled cases for the employee involving:
- Sexual Harassment
- Racial Discrimination
- Age Discrimination
- Gender Discrimination
- Whistleblower Claims
- Workers Compensation Discrimination
- Retaliation Claims
- Overtime Claims
If this area of expertise has brought you to this part of our website, here are a few things I have learned about this type of claim:
- The time period is short to file these claims. You should consult a lawyer as soon as possible if you think you have a claim against your employer.
- Don’t wait to get fired. If you think that your employer is building a case against you dishonestly and the real reason they are trying to get rid of you is discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion or ethnicity, the sooner you get a lawyer involved the better. There are things that can be done to fight back against the power play of your supervisor and sometimes save your job.
- Is your claim valid? Just because your employer made your life miserable by harassing you to the point where you had to quit, that does not mean you don’t have a claim. You may have been subjected to “constructive discharge” which the courts recognize as the same as a regular termination by the employer.
- Document….Document….Document. Print, save and protect emails, voice mails, texts or anything else that it relevant to your claim of harassment or discrimination. You may be fired soon and after that, you will lose access to valuable information to prove your case.
- Just because you were fired for a false reason, does not mean you have a claim. You only have a claim is the true reason you were fired was discriminatory. Discrimination is proven usually by showing one class of workers is getting better treatment than another.
- You don’t have to quit or be fired to make an employment claim. For example, you were passed over for promotion because of your age; or you are being harassed sexually by a co-worker or retaliated against because you reported him; or you realize the men in the office are getting paid more than the women for the same type of work; you can start a claim while you are still working for your employer. Admittedly, this is a hard row to hoe, but I have seen it done successfully.
- Some are unaware that they have an overtime claim. For example, you work an 8 hour day every day but your employer makes you punch out for lunch every day for 30 minutes. That is not enough time to leave the employer’s premises and you end up sitting in a lunch room for that time not getting paid. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, your employer has to pay you for your lunch time under those circumstances. Therefore, each week, you are not getting 2.5 hours paid at time and a half your normal hourly rate. You can go back three years to recoup those wages.
- Sexual harassment is broader than the quid pro quo proposition from your boss, “have sex with or else”. Sexual harassment can be retaliation after a consensual affair is broken off and your boss retaliates. Sexual harassment can include rude remarks, unwanted touching, dirty jokes, cat calls etc. This is called a “hostile working environment” claim. The harassment has to be pervasive and intolerable. A stray remark here and there does not make a case.
- Racial discrimination cases seldom involve overt racism. You do not need a racial epithet or a noose hanging in your locker to win your case. Discrimination is usually proven by evidence that answers the question, “as compared to what?” Is there a difference between how minorities are being treated on advancement or pay raises or disciplinary actions vs Caucasians or visa versa when the decision maker is a minority.
- In age discrimination cases, you still hear the discriminatory remarks like, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” or “he is too old school” or “getting a lot of snow up there on your peak John.” Employers are only recently becoming savvy about how to detect and prevent age discrimination and remarks like these are often a part of these cases.
- Retaliation happens. Retaliation cases involve employees who either report that they are victims of discriminatory decisions or illegal harassment or co-employees who speak up in support of a co-worker who is the victim of these illegal actions.
- In most employment cases, attorney’s fees are recoverable if you win a verdict against your employer.
Call for a free consultation regarding your case if you think you have been the victim of workplace discrimination.