“It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer … to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
— Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964
As stipulated above, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that exists to prohibit all employers from discriminating against any employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion. Title VII will apply to all employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state and local governments. Protections under Title VII also extend to all private and public colleges and universities, employment agencies, as well as labor organizations.
Basic Protections Under Title VII
According to Title VII, discrimination is forbidden in all aspects of employment. This includes:
- Hiring and firing
- Pay, disability leave, and retirement plans
- Compensation, classification or assignment of employees
- Transfers, promotions, layoffs or recalls
- Use of company facilities
- Job postings
- Job recruitment
- Training and apprenticeship programs
- Other benefits
What To Do If I Suffered Discrimination
If you were discriminated against according to Title VII, you are entitled to file a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is the federal agency in charge of enforcing many of our country’s anti-discrimination laws.
Whether or not you’ve made up your mind to file a charge, you can still reach out to the EEOC and discuss your legal rights. Retaining a lawyer is not a prerequisite to filing a discrimination charge, but it is advisable to talk with an employment attorney or the EEOC before filing a charge.
Statute of Limitations For Filing A Discrimination Charge
In general, you have 180 calendar days from the day the discrimination first took place to preserve your legal rights. This deadline can only be extended to 300 days when a state or local agency — sometimes known as a Fair Employment Practice Agency (FEPA) — enforces a law prohibiting employment discrimination on the same basis.
Finally, you can file a charge within these time limitations, whether or not you still work for the offending employer. Please visit the EEOC’s website for more detailed instructions on filing a discrimination charge.
What To Expect After Filing A Charge Of Discrimination
The EEOC will begin an investigation and notify your employer of your complaint. The following scenarios may occur:
- The EEOC will try to resolve your complaint or they may refer you and your employer to a mediator.
- If you and your employer cannot reach a mutually agreed-upon settlement, and the defendant is a private employer, the EEOC may choose to file a lawsuit in court.
- The EEOC may dismiss the charge or issue you a “right to sue” letter.
I’m Not Sure I Want To File. What Can I Do?
It’s a good idea to maintain a record of the perceived discrimination. Write down dates and times as soon as an incident happens, and include what was said and who was present. These notes will be useful if you decide to file a complaint with your company or the EEOC.
It’s recommended to familiarize yourself with your Human Resources (HR) department and understand your employee handbook. Finally, keep a record of your work. Maintain copies of your job evaluations and any communication that supports your performance. Having copies of these records may be enough evidence to dispute any employer criticism.
What Can West Coast Employment Lawyers Do For You?
If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The discrimination lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling discrimination cases. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.
We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with a discrimination attorney in California, contact our office at 213-927-3700.
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