Employee Discrimination

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Fort Lauderdale Employment Discrimination Attorneys Fight for Your Rights

Diligently advocating for South Florida employees

Federal and state legislatures seek to protect individuals from the discriminatory acts of employers through various laws and regulations. These statutes include strict guidelines for discrimination claims, so it’s important to secure representation from a Fort Lauderdale employment discrimination attorney with extensive knowledge in this area of law. Trust the lawyers at Yeboah Law Group to provide you with the knowledgeable and comprehensive representation your case requires.

Aggressively advocating against all types of employment discrimination

Various state and federal laws work to protect employees from the adverse effects of employment discrimination by prohibiting unfair treatment based on the following characteristics:

  • Sex and Gender
  • Race or national origin
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Religion

Our firm provides comprehensive representation for individuals negatively impacted by acts of discrimination within the workplace. Our Miami-Dade attorneys have secured successful outcomes for various types of employment discrimination, including acts involving biases in hiring, promotions, job assignments, termination of employment, and compensation amounts. Our South Florida employment discrimination lawyers also provide legal representation to employees who are retaliated against for reporting a complaint, as well as those who experience harassment within the workplace.

How are sex, gender, pregnancy/maternity discrimination defined?

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sex discrimination as, “treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of the person’s sex.” Any kind of discrimination related to the “hiring, firing, pay, job assignments and promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits and any other term of employment” is against federal law, and Title XLIV of the Florida Civil Rights Act. These same laws also protect women from pregnancy discrimination, and any form of pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. The law treats pregnancy in the same way it treats temporary disability. Pregnant women and mothers who have recently given birth are to be treated the same way employees with disabilities might be treated.

What are some examples of sex and gender discrimination?

Forms of discrimination can be subtle making it difficult to point to, but in other situations the discrimination can be blatant. Here are a few examples of the many possible ways in which an employer might discriminate against an employee based on sex, gender, or pregnancy:

  • An employer who reassigns tasks to a male employee because he assumes that a female employee will not be capable of performing them.
  • A woman loses out on higher commission projects because she is pregnant.
  • An employer passes a more qualified male employee over for advancement because he thinks his customers prefer to work with the female employees.
  • An employer decides not to hire a transgender individual because he does not want to upset the other members of the team.

These are all obvious examples of discrimination based on sex and gender. In other situations, the employee may have noticed subtle ways in which he or she is being overlooked for promotions. Or the employee might find out that a member of the team who is less qualified, and has less education and training, is being paid a higher salary.

Not every rude or unkind comment, or unfriendly treatment constitutes discrimination. The unfair treatment or harassment must be based on what is called, in legal terms, a “protected class.” In the case of sex or gender discrimination, the protected class would be the sex or gender of the person being discriminated against. Florida’s civil rights statutes and federal law provide legal remedies for those in protected classes who have been subject to severe or pervasive discrimination in the workplace.

What are some of the signs of age discrimination in the workplace?

In 2016, there were 20,857 age discrimination charges filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which was up slightly from the 20,144 filed in 2015. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), reports that 2 out of 3 employees between ages 45 and 74 have either witnessed or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, and job seekers over 35 cite ageism as their biggest obstacle to finding a new job.

Some signs of age discrimination can be subtle while others are more overt. Here are some examples of age discrimination in the workplace:

  • A pattern of older employees being replaced by younger ones
  • Negative comments about age
  • Unequal disciplinary practices for older workers and younger workers
  • Unfair promotion practices
  • Showing favoritism towards younger employees in assignments
  • Employer has a pattern of hiring only younger employees
  • Harassment about your age

Filing a claim for age discrimination

If you think that you have sufficient evidence to prove age discrimination, and you work for an employer who has 15 or more employees, you can file a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may wish to consult with an experienced Fort Lauderdale employment discrimination attorney from the Yeboah Law Group before you file your claim. One of our lawyers can review your case and offer legal advice about your options for proceeding. Your attorney may advise you to work within the human resources department at the company where you are employed and follow the process for reporting adverse employment actions first. There are important deadlines that you must be aware of so that you do not lose your right to file your claim. You have a limited amount of time from the date you believe you were discriminated against to file your claim with the EEOC.

Proving age discrimination can be challenging, but if your employer is indeed treating you and other workers unfairly, pressuring you to retire early, and making it difficult for you to do your job because you feel that the workplace has become hostile against you because of your age, then you have the right to pursue legal remedies. Being over age 40 puts you in a protected class regarding age discrimination. You must be able to prove that the primary reason for the adverse employment action was your age.

If you have seen and experienced some of the signs of age discrimination listed earlier, document those instances so that you will have both direct and indirect evidence of age discrimination.

How does the ADA define disability?

The language used by the ADA, which was passed in 2008, continues to evolve. The act’s general definition of a disability is an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, which includes many of the activities that the EEOC has recognized such as seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, personal care, walking, working, etc. It also includes bodily functions (e.g., “functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions”)

The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities so that they can enjoy the “benefits and privileges of employment” which would be equal to those similarly situated employees without disabilities.

Examples of disability discrimination

You may have a valid disability discrimination case if the following or other situations are taking place at work:

  • Your employer denies your promotion because of your disability
  • You were denied a reasonable accommodation you requested
  • Not hired for a job that you could have done with reasonable accommodations because of your disability
  • Intimidated, bullied, and treated differently than employees without disabilities

How do you know if you have a valid claim for disability discrimination?

If you have endured an adverse employment action, or if you have been fired because of your disability, you may have grounds to file a discrimination claim. Because your employer can fire you for any reason, they can do so and then say that you were terminated for performance reasons. An experienced Fort Lauderdale employment discrimination attorney from Yeboah Law Group can investigate your allegations, review your employment records along with your evidence, and develop a compelling case on your behalf.

Employment discrimination can be challenging to prove, but having the support of a skilled attorney on your side can help improve your chances. There is a specific order in which you must file your claim, starting with the Florida Commission on Human Rights (FCHR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the federal agency that enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act. After you have filed your charges with either agency, and you are ready to bring a lawsuit against your employer.  A “right-to-sue” letter issued by the EEOC is good for 90 days.

Understanding national origin discrimination

National origin discrimination can be subtle because most employers are not going to come right out and say something obviously offensive, such as “I don’t want Arabs waiting on my customers,” or “I can’t have anyone with a heavy Hispanic accent answering the phone.” However, sometimes it is possible to discover evidence of such discriminatory sentiments that can be used to bolster a case of national origin discrimination. Some examples of national origin discrimination might include:

  • A hostile environment towards workers based on their national origin
  • Pay discrepancies for people of a particular national origin and employees of other countries
  • An employer who disciplines workers from certain countries differently than workers from the U.S. or other countries
  • An employer forbids a group of workers from the same country to speak their native language to one another while at work
  • An employer forbids workers to wear the clothing of their native country while at work

National origin discrimination is different from racial discrimination, though many people will be subjected to both. While racial discrimination is based on your race – most commonly, the color of your skin – national origin discrimination has to do with the country or area where you or your family were originally rooted.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race or national origin. This prohibition extends to characteristics of race, including skin color, hair texture, cultural dress, or manner of speech.

Requirements for English fluency and English-only rules in the workplace

Sometimes, in an effort to avoid hiring foreign workers, some employers might tell job applicants that they must pass an English test. Depending on the nature of the job requirements, an English proficiency test may be legitimate, however, the employers will have to provide evidence that they give all applicants an English proficiency test. They must also demonstrate how the worker’s English proficiency is required to perform the duties of the job.

If an employer imposes an English only rule, it must be for non-discriminatory reasons, and a requirement to promote safe and efficient business operations.

Proving employment discrimination

Proving employment discrimination involves much more than making an allegation. Federal and state statutes necessitate that you follow specific filing requirements before instituting a lawsuit. If a court case is brought, the accuser will have to prove one or more off the following basic theories of discrimination:

  • The accused was a member of a “protected group,” based on characteristics like race, gender, age or religion.
  • Disparate treatment, which in the employment context refers to when a person is intentionally treated differently from others based on one or more of the protected factors.
  • Failure to accommodate and individual’s disability.

These requirements can be difficult to meet without representation from a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale employment discrimination attorney who understands the intricacies of a discrimination case.

Contact a skilled South Florida employment discrimination lawyer today

Employment discrimination claims often start with a hunch or feeling that something just isn’t right. So, you may be unsure about whether you have a valid case. Let the attorneys of Yeboah Law Group help you decipher the incident and determine whether an official claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and the Florida Commission on Human Relations is appropriate. Contact us today for trustworthy guidance and a commitment to your case. You can call us at 1-800-TELL-SAM or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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