Employment Discrimination & Harassment

sexual harassmentWorkers are entitled by law to a workplace free of illegal harassment.

If you have been discriminated against or harassed by your employers, supervisors, or co-workers you have certain rights and remedies, including the right to recover damages.

If you have been wrongfully terminated or believe you have suffered discrimination in hiring, promotion, job assignment, compensation and other areas, contact Lowcountry Injury Law for lawyers who have an established reputation for helping to protect the rights of employees. Will help you understand your rights and protect your job. Our employee discrimination attorneys provide aggressive representation to clients who have been subjected to employment discrimination and harassment.

Prohibited Employment Policies and Practices

Under the laws enforced by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) on the basis of that person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because he or she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. See the EEOC Website for iInformation about specific practices that are prohibited in connnection with job assignments and promotions, pay and benefits, discipline and discharge, employment references, accomodation of disability or religion, training, terms and conditions of employment, harassment, and pre-employment inquiries.

Our attorneys handle employment-related cases involving:

• Age discrimination
• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims
• Disability discrimination
• Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) claims
• Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims
• Gender discrimination
• Hostile work environment
• National origin discrimination
• Negligent supervision and retention
• Overtime claims
• Pregnancy discrimination
• Prevailing wage
• Race discrimination
• Religious discrimination
• Retaliation
• Sexual harassment
• Unemployment hearings
• Wage and hour claims
• Wrongful termintion

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 offered the promise of equal employment opportunity.

Title VII prohibits job discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. No longer could employers discriminate in hiring, firing, promotions, pay, and other employment decisions.

UNDER TITLE VII, discrimination victims must first file administrative charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which investigates the charge and determines whether there is reason to believe that discrimination has occurred. At that point, the EEOC may choose to continue to resolve — and, if need be, litigate — the case, or the plaintiff may choose to file a lawsuit in federal court.

TITLE VII's enactment — aided by the courts' generally broad interpretation of its scope in the 1960s and 1970s — helped open doors that had previously been closed to African Americans and other minorities. For the first time, minorities and women became police officers, firefighters, principals, and engineers in significant numbers. No longer could employers advertise that "only whites need apply." Harassment based on race, sex, or other protected characteristics, became understood as a form of illegal job discrimination.

Supreme Court Decisions

Some decisions by the United States Supreme Court in the 1980’s weakened the effectiveness of Title VII, but the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which legislatively reversed some of those decisions, reestablish the broad scope of Title VII's protections. It also provided, for the first time, limited money damages for many victims of intentional discrimination to compensate them for their injuries, punish wrongdoing, and deter its recurrence.

More recently, the Supreme Court has wrestled with the circumstances under which a plaintiff can establish discrimination in cases involving circumstantial, or indirect, evidence of discrimination. In Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing (2000), the Court made clear that a jury may find unlawful discrimination when a plaintiff shows that the employer's explanation for its adverse job decision is pretextual, that is, untrue.

Other forms of discrimination

Other areas of concern include continuing harassment on the basis of race, national origin, and other protected characteristics, as well as national origin discrimination that takes the form of bias against workers who speak with accents or unjustified "English-only" policies in the workplace. An additional issue is the increasing prevalence of mandatory arbitration policies, under which employers force workers — as a condition of employment — to sign away their rights to litigate any future discrimination claims, and instead submit to arbitration. Mandatory arbitration in many cases imposes significantly higher costs on employees who may not be able to afford them. Furthermore, arbitration — unlike judicial resolution of such disputes – generally does not allow public scrutiny of alleged job discrimination nor does it allow for the creation of judicial opinions that help develop the law.

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