Helping Victims of Workplace Harassment Obtain Justice for Over 25 Years.
Workplace harassment is a common occurrence. However, workplace harassment is not always illegal. Your boss yelling at you, calling you names, and berating you is immoral and unethical. However, it only violates the law when the harassment targets employees based on protected class status.
When an employer, boss, coworker, client, or nonemployee targets your gender, age, race, religion, color, nationality, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability when they harass you, they break the law. They have crossed the line from workplace harassment to employment discrimination. Federal and state laws protect most employees from any form of employment discrimination in the workplace.
What Is Workplace Harassment?
Workplace harassment occurs when an employer, CEO, supervisor, manager, client, customer, coworker, or nonemployee makes derogatory comments, berates, and otherwise humiliates an employee or job applicant. In some cases, the harassment, while horrific, does not break any laws. However, if the harassment targets employees and job applicants based on their status in a protected class, workplace harassment breaks employment discrimination laws.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 1981, The Americans with Disabilities Act, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and many other federal and state laws outline protected classes for your state. These laws prohibit workplace harassment based on these classes.
What Is a Protected Class?
Federal and state laws create an equal opportunity environment for all potential employees and job seekers. These laws outline characteristics that should never be considered to hire, fire, harass, or discriminate against someone for employment purposes. These characteristics are known as protected classes.
The law lists the following classifications as protected classes:
- National Origin
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
- Military status
- Immigration status
- Family status
- Genetic testing information
To determine if your employer violated your rights as a protected class member, contact an experienced employment discrimination lawyer. Your attorney can help you determine if the workplace harassment targeted you because of your membership in a protected class.
What Are Examples of Workplace Harassment?
Workplace harassment can come in many forms. Some examples of this type of harassment include:
- Your boss constantly calls you derogatory names based on your gender.
- Your coworker calls you a terrorist because of your skin color.
- Your CEO makes sexist jokes in front of all-female staff.
- Your supervisor jokes about using your diabetic needles for drugs instead of insulin.
- A temporary contractor at the office uses homophobic slurs against you every time you pass by.
- Your coworkers make racist jokes against you and your friends.
- Your employer calls you “old man,” even though you have made it clear you find it offensive.
- Your supervisor jokes about your religious practices regularly, even after you have asked her to stop.
- Your coworkers leave signs at your desk and send you emails telling you to “go back to where you came from.”
- Your boss threatens to report you to ICE because you will not sleep with him (you are a natural-born citizen of the US).
- Your employer fires you because you reported his harassment to your HR department.
- Your boss demotes you because you told his supervisor about the constant harassment when you are trying to complete assignments.
What Laws Protect Employees from Discriminatory Workplace Harassment?
Many federal laws protect employees from discrimination in workplace harassment. Once again, while harassment is not illegal on its own. However, once it targets people due to protected class status it violates federal and state laws.
The federal laws protecting employees from discriminatory workplace harassment include:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
- The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
- US 42 §1981
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination act
States often maintain state laws that help protect employees from employment discrimination as well. Each state offers its own rules and regulations relating to workplace harassment that may offer more rights than federal laws.
Contact a dedicated workplace harassment lawyer to help determine the laws best suited for your claim.
What Is the Statute of Limitations to File a Workplace Harassment Lawsuit?
When you should file your lawsuit for workplace harassment depends on the laws relating to your claim. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) handles most workplace discrimination claims, including discriminatory workplace harassment. The EEOC requires charges to be filed with the organization within a 180-day time limit. However, in states with similar state laws, the time limit to file a charge is 300 days.
Section 1981 allows employees a time limit of 4 years to file a claim in federal court for workplace harassment based on race.
Finally, each state and locality set its own statute of limitations to file your claim on the state level. It is always best to file your claim as soon as possible to ensure you do not miss the time frame allowed by law to file the claim.
To determine the proper statute of limitations for your claim based on the laws you use to file your claim, contact the employment discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group to start the process.
What Remedies Are Available to Victims of Discriminatory Workplace Harassment?
When an employer harasses you, fires you because you stood up for yourself, or retaliates against you, you deserve relief. The courts also believe you deserve relief. Some of the remedies available to victims of discriminatory workplace harassment include reimbursement of related expenses and court fees, reinstatement of employment and benefits, and payment of lost wages. You may even receive money for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Speak with a qualified discrimination lawyer to determine the relief available for you as a victim of discriminatory workplace harassment.
When Will Your Claim for Workplace Harassment Settle?
A workplace harassment claim may settle before your attorney ever files the charge with the EEOC. A great discrimination lawyer will negotiate with your employer from the moment you walk into their office. With their help and your employer’s willingness to negotiate, your claim may settle in a few short months.
However, sometimes, an employer refuses to settle the claim. In these instances, your attorney will continue to negotiate a settlement with your employer throughout the entire process while also preparing your case for litigation.
The claim may settle in under a year. However, other times, it may take several years or end in litigation. Litigation can take years until the courts enter a judgment.
When you work with a dedicated discrimination lawyer, they can guide you through the entire process, advocating for your rights and negotiating a fair and equitable settlement for your claim.
How Can an Employment Discrimination Lawyer Help Your Claim?
Workplace harassment, at times, appears to be illegal when it is not. It is degrading and horrific. However, it is only illegal when it violates your rights under employment discrimination laws. An employment discrimination attorney can help you determine your rights under the laws.
Once they help you understand your rights, they can help direct your claim. Your workplace discrimination lawyer can guide you towards the laws best suited for your claims. They can negotiate your claim and advocate for your rights in the workplace. Your attorney understands the laws and knows how to use them to help ensure you receive the justice you deserve.
Your attorney will be your partner in your claim. They will ensure you meet all deadlines set by the courts. They will ensure your claim is heard and your employer doesn’t get away with illegal behavior.
Contact Our Experienced Team of Workplace Harassment Attorneys Today for Your Free Consultation
Employees work hard and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. The laws ensure that your race, color, national origin, pregnancy, age, religion, or any other protected class status cannot lead to you being treated with anything less than the respect you deserve.
If you or your loved one has been the victim of workplace harassment, the experienced attorneys at Derek Smith Law Group in New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles, and New Jersey are here to help.
Were You the Victim of Discriminatory Workplace Harassment? Did Your Employer Fire You or Retaliate Against You for Standing Up for Your Rights? Please Contact Us at 800.807.2209 or email Derek@Dereksmithlaw.com with Your Questions.