Whether you’re sure that you’re being discriminated against in the workplace or you “only” suspect that you’re being illegally mistreated, it’s important to explore your legal options with the assistance of an experienced employment discrimination lawyer Washington, D.C. area residents trust. Employment discrimination is a common issue that affects all industries. However, it is not always addressed and it can be difficult to prove. There are some motivating factors that encourage workers to speak out about their experience with discrimination. One of the most compelling reasons why mistreated employees choose to come forward involves protecting their fellow co-workers. If one individual is being subjected to discriminatory workplace treatment, chances are that others are experiencing the same treatment, have in the past, and/or will in the future. They realize that no one is immune from being affected by it. If you believe that you have been a victim of employment discrimiantion it is important that you take legal action and discuss your situation with an experienced lawyer. By speaking with an experienced Washington, D.C. employment discrimination lawyer, you could not only safeguard your own rights but also help to ensure that the rights of others are protected as well.
Common Forms of Workplace Discrimination
For decades, federal law has prohibited discrimination in the workplace based on certain characteristics. State and D.C. laws, as well as laws that apply to federal workers specifically, often expand upon general federal employment discrimination law. In nearly every situation, and as applied to nearly every employer, workers cannot be discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, gender, age, religious beliefs, nationality, ethnicity, disability, or genetics. Many jurisdiction-specific laws also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, pregnancy (often classified as a disability), marital status, and other characteristics fundamental to a person’s being. If you have questions about whether the mistreatment you’re experiencing at work qualifies as discrimination, our firm’s Washington, D.C. employment discrimination lawyer can help to clarify and to protect your rights if they are being infringed upon. Employment law is expansive and can be difficult to understand how they apply to your particular situation. They can address any topics that you may have concerns about and answer questions you may have about the claims process.
Are Harassment and Retaliation Forms of Discrimination?
Sexual harassment is legally classified as a form of sex discrimination. Therefore, many of the “rules” of discrimination law apply directly in sexual harassment cases. Similarly, retaliation based on a protected classification is treated as a form of discrimination. Retaliation is, essentially, unlawful discrimination manifested as an adverse action taken against a worker who has engaged in a protected activity. Employers are restricted from discriminating or targeting a specific employee who speaks up about conditions or their experience in the workplace. It’s important to note however, that not all protected activities are tied to protected classifications. For example, if a worker was reassigned to a lower paying position because they took time off from work to serve on a jury, this would be considered unlawful retaliation. In this example, the retaliation has nothing to do with a worker’s protected characteristics, only with their engagement in a legally protected activity. However, if a worker is retaliated against for filing a race discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that would be unlawful retaliation that is related to both the worker’s protected characteristics and protected activities. Knowing which activities are considered protected is not always clear. These nuances can be confusing to understand, so it would be helpful to talk to an employment discrimination lawyer who can provide further explanation about the differences and complexities within employment law.
If you have questions about harassment, retaliation, or any other aspect of discrimination law, please let our firm’s Washington, D.C. employment discrimination lawyer know. We’ll be happy to provide you with personalized guidance after learning about your unique situation.
What About Disability Discrimination?
Workers with disabilities are entitled to specific protections under federal law. For example, if applicants or workers are denied claims for “reasonable accommodation” that would not result in an undue burden on employers, these individuals may have grounds upon which to file a claim of disability discrimination. Reasonable accommodation requests range from making workspaces more accessible to facilitating a work schedule that allows an employee to attend necessary medical appointments. Workers may also experience discriminatory treatment in the workplace in many of the same ways that workers belonging to other protected classes do.
If you are unsure of whether the treatment that you’re experiencing at work is unlawfully discriminatory in nature, connect with the experienced team at Eric Seigel Law. Our Washington D.C. employment discrimination lawyer team will be more than happy to clarify your rights and options based upon the unique circumstances that you’re facing.
It is important to understand that simply because you are expected to perform while at work, you are not legally required to be at work at certain times. Specifically, both state and federal law protect the rights of most workers to take leave from their jobs – under certain circumstances – without any fear that they will be fired or otherwise retaliated against for taking advantage of this legally protected leave. For example, some workers are entitled to take time to vote, while most workers are protected in the event that they need to serve on a jury or fulfill duties as a member of the military or National Guard.
Additionally, most workers are entitled to take a legally protected leave of absence from work to tend to their own medical challenges and/or to care for eligible loved ones. Most commonly, workers take advantage of the Family Medical Leave Act’s protections in order to care for newly born or adopted children. However, FMLA covers more than “just” maternity and paternity leave. It also allows ill or injured workers to take time to heal and for workers to take care of certain loved ones who may be injured or ill. If you either request or take FMLA leave and experience retaliation as a result, you may have grounds upon which to file a legal claim.
What if I Work in an Unsafe Environment?
If you are concerned about your safety and the safety of your coworkers due to a hazardous work environment, it is important to speak with an attorney about your concerns. If you are concerned about violence, you need to speak up. If you are concerned about your working conditions, our team may suggest that you file an anonymous workplace inspection request with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We can help you take that step confidentially. Either way, it is important to understand that you have rights to a safe workplace under the law and that we can help to make sure that you and your coworkers remain safe while you are on the job.
What if I’m Worried that Talking to a Lawyer Will Make Things Worse at Work?
It’s important to understand that consultations with the experienced Washington, D.C. legal team at Eric Siegel Law are confidential. As noted above, retaliation is illegal. If you choose to file an anonymous complaint, to file a named complaint, to submit an investigation request, or even to file legal action against your employer for engaging in illegal behavior, it would be illegal for your employer to retaliate against you. With that said, many workers are understandably concerned about “taking heat” from co-workers, etc. in the event that they find out you’ve been speaking with an attorney. If they step forward and talk about their experience, they could face retaliation even from their co-workers. They are afraid of worsening their situation, and that speaking up about their experience may put their job security in jeopardy. This is a risk not many workers are willing to take. Since preserving the dynamics in the workplace is also important, it is reasonable for workers to be concerned about how their complaint will be received by their fellow co-workers. For this reason, many workers who suffer discrimination choose not to disclose it to their colleagues.
The choice to tell anyone about our consultation and/or work together will always be up to you. Our consultation is confidential and you can have peace of mind knowing that the information you share with our firm will be protected from your employer. We take our duty to keep your consultation and/or attorney-client relationship confidential very, very seriously. Our firm’s respected Washington, D.C. employment discrimination lawyer can also answer any questions you may have about what to expect – should you choose to move forward – at any time.
The Ins and Outs of the EEOC
Depending on your unique circumstances, if you choose to pursue legal action against your employer, we may need to work together to submit an investigation request to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before we can proceed with additional steps. The EEOC is a government agency that enforces federal employment discrimination laws. In its capacity as an investigator, it has the authority to review discrimination charges against employers before workers bring lawsuits against them privately. In a small fraction of cases, the EEOC chooses to file lawsuits under its own power post-review of complaints submitted by workers and/or their attorneys. The EEOC may also try to settle the matter in question if it chooses not to try the case.
Alternatively, we may be able to pursue arbitration or file a case on our own. In any case, it is best to talk to a lawyer about what options are available to you. This area of law is particularly complex and no two cases are exactly the same. You can depend on an employment discrimination lawyer from Eric Siegel Law to assist you every step of the way. When you schedule a no-risk consultation with our legal team, you’ll be able to explain your situation. Then, we will be able to advise you of your legal options so that you can make an informed decision about your next steps. Honesty and transparency is of utmost importance to us, so we will give you our direct and genuine answer regarding your case assessment. It’s important to note that all of our consultations are confidential. Too often, workers are afraid to speak with an attorney because they are afraid of being retaliated against by their employers. We will keep your story in confidence if/until you direct us to behave otherwise. We take great pride in safeguarding the rights of workers and will treat your legal situation with the utmost respect. Don’t wait another minute to receive help. Allow us to work on your case so that we can fight for your right to fair employment and hold your employer accountable for discrimination.
Steps to Take If You’re Facing Discrimination at Work
Experiencing discrimination at work is a deeply affecting experience. You expect to receive respect from both management and colleagues, so to discover that you are being discriminated against for factors out of your control is upsetting and disheartening. After such an incident, there are options you can consider however. If you suspect that you’re being discriminated against at work, you don’t have to sit there and take it. You have the right to speak up and allow your voice to be heard. Workers should not have to tolerate discrimination and accept the consequences. Here are a few steps you can take:
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you believe that you may be experiencing discrimination in the hiring, employment, or termination process, please connect with the experienced legal team at Eric Siegel Law today. You don’t need to know “for sure” that you have grounds to file legal action to explore your options. Additionally, you don’t need to file legal action simply because you learn that this is an option for you. It is not necessary to have all of the answers right away, as a lawyer is there to provide you with further guidance and information. Once they know about the basics of your situation, they can begin a deeper investigation. All a consultation does is allow you to answer questions and receive knowledgeable guidance. The next steps are always up to you. Please connect with our firm’s Washington, D.C. employment discrimination lawyer today; we look forward to speaking with you.