Employment Law Paper: Workplace Discrimination
Three protected classes of persons, procedural requirements to file a claim, recommendations to an employer.
Discrimination at the workplace is a severe issue because it implies that people are deprived of some rights or inadequately treated based on their ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and others. American legislative bodies understand that the problem exists. That is why Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 emerged to abolish discrimination at the workplace. This law protects numerous groups, including religious individuals, women, and sexual minorities, who should undertake a specific procedure to file a claim against their employers that, however, should follow best practices to avoid such issues.
Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an essential legislation piece to combat unlawful employment practices. In particular, this law stipulates that employers’ practice is considered illegal when they refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate against individuals based on these peoples’ race, sex, religion, and others (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.b). That is why there are a few examples of how the legislation under consideration protects such individuals from inadequate treatment.
Firstly, if religion is a basis of discrimination against a person, they can file a claim against their employer. Such an example emerged in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. (2015) case, where a Muslim woman was not hired because she wore a headscarf. The employer stipulated that wearing any cap was a violation of the company’s internal policy. However, the Supreme Court specified that such practice was illegal according to Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 because this legislation piece prohibited prejudice based on religion ( Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., 2015). Kazyak et al. (2018) admit that “federal and state laws protect people from discrimination on the basis of religion in all 50 states” (p. 14). Thus, one can state that Muslims, Jews, and other minorities are protected classes in the US.
Secondly, the legislation piece under consideration provides women with protection against workplace discrimination. A decision in Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson (1986) justifies this claim because that case demonstrated that harassment created a hostile working environment. The Supreme Court stated that this situation violated Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 ( Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 1986). Simultaneously, Bose et al. (2020) stipulate that protecting women from workplace discrimination is not a homogenous issue. The rationale behind this statement is that whether this population group faces adequate treatment depends on the country. Bose et al. (2020) focus on United Nations member states and conclude that a large percentage of high-income countries draws sufficient attention toward addressing the issue under consideration. That is why one can state that women are protected from workplace discrimination in most developed nations.
Thirdly, Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 can be applied to protect gay and transgender individuals from biased attitudes. A suitable example refers to the Bostock v. Clayton County (2020) case, where the employee was fired after it emerged that he played in a gay softball league. Even though an earlier circuit court decision supported that the firing decision had financial reasons, the Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal to fire a person for being gay or transgender ( Bostock v. Clayton County, 2020). However, it is worth admitting that such a state of affairs was not always present. Burke et al. (2021) explain that most states failed to draw sufficient attention toward protecting LGBT individuals from employment discrimination. The decision in Bostock v. Clayton County (2020) demonstrated that Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be applied to representatives of sexual minorities (Burke et al., 2021). Thus, one can state that current legislation protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination.
Even though the information above has demonstrated that the American legislation deals with mitigating workplace discrimination, such adverse cases occur. That is why individuals should know how to act if they face a prejudiced attitude from their employers. Consequently, the following paragraphs will comment on what agency a person should contact, what conditions should be present to file a claim, and how the agency can investigate the case.
To begin with, one should explain how a person can know where to go if they face discrimination. On the one hand, such an individual can contact the Equal Employment and Opportunities Commission (EEOC), a federal agency. This body protects the employees’ rights and deals with many discrimination cases on a national level. On the other hand, each state has local administrative agencies that are the Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities. This organization also covers all employment discrimination cases, but its jurisdiction is limited to a state where it resides. If a person wants to file a complaint, it is helpful to surf the Internet to find the closest organization or reach a public lawyer to get assistance with choosing the body to contact online.
Irrespective of whether an individual chooses to deal with a federal or state agency, it is necessary to prepare certain information to file a claim. Firstly, personal details of both the victim and an individual who is accused of discriminatory behavior are required. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (n.d.a) clarifies that the names, addresses, and telephone numbers should be presented. Secondly, the person should provide a description of events or activities that are believed to be unfair or prejudiced (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.a). This information is necessary for a state or federal agency to determine whether there is any legal reasoning to consider that discrimination is present in such cases. Finally, it is essential to mention the exact dates when the event occurred (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.a). This detail is significant because there are some time limits to file complaints. The standard period is 180 working days, but it can be extended to 300 working days under some circumstances. That is why it is reasonable to file a complaint with 180 days to ensure that the time limit is met.
Once a complaint is filed, an agency should start the investigation process. The first step is to notify a respondent that somebody sued against them (New York State, n.d.). If a person contacts a state agency, it can forward a copy of this claim to the EEOC office if a respondent resides in a different state. The following step is to investigate the claim by relying on numerous methods, including field investigation, written inquiry, and investigatory conference (New York State, n.d.). These processes are necessary for an agency to collect evidence that is required to establish a fact of discrimination. If the obtained information demonstrates that discriminatory practices were present, the agency can prepare a lawsuit against the employer.
If I were the attorney on retainer for an employer, I would give a few pieces of advice to help the client avoid potential discrimination claims. The first recommendation is to get acquainted with Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. This document is essential because it allows employers to understand what behavior can be considered discrimination against employees (US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.b). Thus, the information in this legislation piece can be sufficient for the client to ensure that their employment practices are not biased.
However, Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 appeared many years ago, but employment discrimination cases tend to happen now and then. That is why a suitable strategy is to consider how real-life organizations manage this issue. On the one hand, Dadanlar and Abebe (2020) stipulate that “firms led by female CEOs have a reduced likelihood of discrimination lawsuits” (p. 398). A possible explanation of this fact is that women also face some forms of discrimination in the modern world. That is why they understand the adverse consequences of this issue and contribute to making the workforce diverse and equal. That is why a recommendation to my imaginary client would be to hire women in some management positions. As a result, academic evidence allows for supposing that female managers will bring more diversity to the workplace, which will help avoid discrimination lawsuits.
On the other hand, I would recommend drawing more attention to promoting LGBT diversity. For example, Maks-Solomon and Drewry (2020) stipulate that many American corporations changed their position from opposing to promoting the rights of this minority group. Valuable strategies are to sponsor pride parades, have hiring policies that welcome LGBT individuals, contribute to the emergence of employee groups that promote workers’ interests, and others (Maks-Solomon & Drewry, 2020). Thus, I would help my client understand that they could also invest in such activities to promote diversity and avoid criticism. It is possible to suggest that this strategy would allow the employer to create a diverse workforce where discrimination issues based on gender identity would be improbable. I can also suppose that the same approach would be beneficial to ensure that representatives of ethnic minorities do not witness prejudiced attitudes. Consequently, it is possible to rely on the existing practices that American firms and corporations utilize to avoid workplace discrimination claims.
American legislation draws sufficient attention to ensure that discrimination does not affect employees. Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 is among those laws that govern this area. This legislation stipulates that employers are not allowed to subject their employees to biased attitudes based on the worker’s gender, religion, ethnicity, and other peculiarities. Academic evidence and Supreme Court cases demonstrate that women, religious individuals, and sexual minorities are protected classes under this regulation. However, some discrimination practices occur, and employees should know how to respond to them. According to the information from credible sources, an affected person can contact a state or federal agency to report a prejudiced attitude. The organizations should investigate these cases and file a lawsuit against employers if the evidence demonstrates that they discriminated against some workers. That is why employers should make efforts to avoid such issues, and using the strategies of American firms and corporates as an example is a suitable strategy.
Bose, B., Quinones, F., Moreno, G., Raub, A., Huh, K., & Heymann, J. (2020). Protecting adults with caregiving responsibilities from workplace discrimination: Analysis of national legislation. Journal of Marriage and Family, 82 (3), 953-964.
Bostock v. Clayton County, 590 US . (2020).
Burke, K., Kazyak, E., & MillerMacPhee, A. (2021). LGBT employment nondiscrimination: Debating sexuality and citizenship. Sexual Research and Social Policy.
Dadanlar, H. H., & Abebe, M. (2020). Female CEO leadership and the likelihood of corporate diversity misconduct: Evidence from S&P 500 firms. Journal of Business Research, 118 (1), 398-405.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. , 575 US. (2015).
Kazyak, E., Burke, L., & Stange, M. (2018). Logics of freedom: Debating religious freedom laws and gay and lesbian rights . Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, 4, 1-18.
Maks-Solomon, C., & Drewry, J. M. (2020). Why do corporations engage in LGBT rights activism? LGBT employee groups as internal pressure groups . Business and Politics, 23 (1), 124-152.
Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 US 57 . (1986).
New York State. (n.d.). Complaint.
US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.a). How to file a complaint.
US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.b). Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
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96 Employment Law Essay Topic Ideas & Examples
🏆 best employment law topic ideas & essay examples, ✅ good essay topics on employment law, 📑 interesting topics to write about employment law, ❓ employment law essay questions.
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City of Moscow, Idaho, passes anti-discrimination ordinance
- Updated: Apr. 02, 2013, 2:28 p.m. |
- Published: Apr. 02, 2013, 1:28 p.m.
- The Associated Press
— The Moscow City Council has passed an anti-discrimination ordinance that makes it illegal to make housing and employment decisions based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The council passed the ordinance Monday amid protests by Mayor Nancy Chaney and some residents who say they were not given a chance to comment on the proposal.
Councilman Dan Cascallen says the panel had received volumes of emails and felt it had taken enough public opinion.
Chaney says she believes the ordinance warranted discussion from all sides. She says she believes the council's action will put a blight on the city.
The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports the ordinance passed unanimously.
-- The Associated Press
I'm an employment lawyer. If you've been fired after taking maternity leave, you may be a discrimination victim.
- Rachel Berlin Benjamin is a partner at Beal Sutherland Berlin & Brown.
- She's helped pregnant people navigate discrimination laws.
- She recommends people contact a lawyer if they suspect they are being discriminated.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Rachel Berlin Benjamin. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I’m a plaintiff’s employment attorney, or someone who specializes in workers’ rights. I help employees who have been discriminated against in the workplace by pursuing claims of discrimination or retaliation and receiving the payments they may be entitled to if they have legal claims. I’ve helped people across all industries and jobs who have experienced unlawful discrimination , retaliation, or sexual harassment.
As a victim advocate and a mom of two, I’ve been able to help dozens of pregnant people who have been unfairly treated in the workplace. As many industries undergo layoffs, here are some things to keep in mind.
If you’re fired after getting pregnant or taking maternity leave, you might be the victim of discrimination
The experience of being let go while pregnant or shortly after giving birth is surely an emotional and stressful time, but it’s important to know your rights.
Pregnancy alone cannot be grounds for termination. If an employer demotes, fires, fails to accommodate, or mistreats someone solely because they are pregnant, then that likely violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act , Title VII of the Civil Rights Act , and or the newly enacted Pregnant Workers Fairness Act . These important federal laws help protect women and pregnant employees in the workplace, but they will only apply if the employer has at least 15 employees.
Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibit sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. In 2023, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act went into effect and made clear that employers need to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This could include changes to one’s job, workplace and schedule, and requests for light-duty work or job modifications.
There are circumstances where a person is demoted or let go for non-discriminatory reasons unrelated to the worker’s pregnancy. Employers could decide to discipline or terminate a pregnant worker because of legitimate performance issues, personality differences, or a reduction in workforce, for example.
Discrimination can also happen during parental leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows employees who have been working for a company for at least a year full-time to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave. That could be for a serious medical condition, taking care of a sick family member, or giving birth. FMLA is not paid parental leave .
While FMLA generally offers job protection to employees, it does not make an employee “termination proof.” In other words, it is possible to be legally fired during FMLA leave if the employer can show the employee was terminated for reasons completely unrelated to FMLA leave, or the decision to terminate the worker is documented and decided before the worker contemplates FMLA leave, for example. However, it raises a red flag if I see someone being fired during FMLA leave or shortly after they return from the leave.
You don’t have to wait until you are terminated to contact a lawyer
You might get a severance package if you’re let go while pregnant or on leave, and there might be language in there saying to contact a lawyer. That’s usually when people think it’s time to take that step. But if you feel like you’ve been targeted because of pregnancy or medical leave at any time during employment, you should contact a plaintiff’s employment lawyer.
The earlier you contact a lawyer who specializes in this area, the better because we can help you navigate a lot: what to document, whether to record conversations, how to respond to employer emails or texts, what to say, and how to protect yourself. We will also help you get a better understanding of the deadlines that exist to pursue these types of claims.
Employment lawyer fees vary for discrimination work
A legal consultation doesn’t necessarily have to be paid. A lot of times, if you have a legal claim under any of the statutes, your consultation might be free because your claims are valuable. Lawyers in this field work both on a contingency fee (taking a percentage of your settlement) or based on their hourly rates. If you feel you need a lawyer, call a firm specializing in representing employees and tell them what is going on. You don’t necessarily need documents, recordings, or video to prove your case. Your word is good enough.
Compensation for discrimination can vary. Under employment discrimination laws, lost wages can be recovered until you find new work, potentially including differences to your previous salary and "front pay" for the future. However, recovering these damages requires diligently seeking new jobs and documenting your efforts to minimize losses. Compensatory damages are also available but capped based on your employer's size. Every case is different.
Watch: FACEBOOK EXEC: We know for a fact there's a bias against motherhood in the workplace
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N.Y. County Order Targets Transgender Women and Girls in Sports
A new ban in Long Island’s Nassau County prohibits girls’ and women’s teams with transgender athletes from competing at public facilities, the latest effort in a nationwide push to limit participation in women’s sports.
By Claire Fahy
A county on Long Island, N.Y., is making more than 100 facilities off limits to athletic organizations that allow transgender girls and women to compete on teams that match their gender identity, staking out a position in the nationwide debate over how and when transgender athletes can participate in women’s sports.
Bruce Blakeman, the Nassau County executive and a Republican, signed an executive order on Thursday requiring any sports league or organization that wants to use a county parks department facility to “expressly designate” its teams as male, female or coed based on members’ assigned sex at birth.
The policy takes effect immediately and does not require legislative approval. The governor, the New York attorney general and the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said the ban was illegal and suggested legal action could be imminent.
The move was the latest in a series of efforts by officials across the country to bar transgender athletes from competing on teams that match their gender identity, particularly in girls’ and women’s sports. In the past several years, more than 20 states have passed laws restricting transgender athletes from playing school sports on teams that do not match the sex they were assigned at birth, according to ESPN .
And last year, the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans, approved a bill that would bar transgender women and girls from competing in women’s sports . The bill has no chance of passing the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, or of being signed by President Biden.
According to Mr. Blakeman’s office, the executive action signed on Thursday, which does not restrict transgender boys and men from competing on boys’ and men’s teams, will affect thousands of teams across all levels that compete at Nassau County facilities.
Last year, the Big East Conference, home to 11 college athletics programs, held its swimming championship in the county. A spokesperson for the Big East said the championship would be in Indianapolis this year and that no decision had been made about future events.
Robert Zayas, the executive director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, told his colleagues in an email on Thursday that the association “continues to advise its member schools to place students on teams that most appropriately aligns with the student’s gender identity.” Dr. Zayas added that he was working with state officials to figure out how to address the new ban and to determine what effect it would have on student athletes.
Backlash to the order was swift.
“This discriminatory move not only undermines the principles of inclusivity and fairness but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes and exclusion,” said David Kilmnick, the president of the L.G.B.T. Network, a nonprofit group based on Long Island and in Queens.
“New York State law explicitly protects the rights of transgender individuals, ensuring their equal participation in all aspects of life, including sports,” he added. “Attempting to enforce such a ban would be futile and legally untenable.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul, in a statement to The New York Times on Thursday, accused Mr. Blakeman of “bullying trans kids.”
“There is nothing lower than trying to score cheap political points by putting a target on the backs of some of our state’s most vulnerable children,” she said. “We’re proud New York has some of the nation’s strongest protections for the L.G.B.T.Q.+ community, and my Administration is committed to enforcing these laws.”
Letitia James, the New York attorney general, called the order “transphobic” and “deeply dangerous.” Bobby Hodgson, the director of L.G.B.T.Q. Rights Litigation at the New York chapter of the A.C.L.U., said in a statement that the organization would “consider all options to stop it.”
Jami Taylor, a political science professor at the University of Toledo and an expert on L.G.B.T. politics, said in an interview that in signing the order, Mr. Blakeman had ignored both state law and a precedent set by the state Supreme Court.
According to New York human rights law, gender identity and expression is a protected class in “ all areas of jurisdiction, including employment, places of public accommodation, public and private housing, educational institutions and credit. ” Ms. Taylor said county sports facilities would be considered places of public accommodation.
“What this is, is an attempt broadly by Republicans nationally to focus on the transgender rights issue in an election season,” Ms. Taylor said. “It’s really just a culture war issue that they feel is advantageous.”
The New York Supreme Court ruled in Richards v. United States Tennis Association in 1977 that Renée Richards, one of the first openly transgender professional athletes, could compete in the women’s draw at the U.S. Open, rejecting the tennis association’s requirement for Ms. Richards to pass a sex chromatin test.
“As early as 1977, it was recognized by a New York court that sex discrimination claims under the Human Rights Law may be brought by individuals alleging discrimination because of their gender identity,” the New York state guidance on gender identity protections reads.
Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti, a Democrat representing parts of Nassau County, said that Mr. Blakeman had signed the order to score political points.
“He is issuing an unnecessary executive order to grab headlines that I fear could lead to a culture of hate towards transgender children,” Ms. Sillitti said. “Words matter. Far too often, hateful rhetoric leads to hateful action.”
The executive order was announced at a time of increasing threats and harassment against transgender and nonbinary people, especially children, with bans on athletic activities and bathroom usage continuing to gain traction.
Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old who used they/them pronouns, died this month in a small Oklahoma town outside Tulsa after a confrontation in their high school’s girls bathroom .
Also this month, in Utah, a school district had to enlist police protection for a player on a high school girls’ basketball team whom a member of the state school board had suggested was transgender .
Mr. Blakeman, a longtime fixture in Long Island politics, won the county executive’s office in 2021 with a campaign heavily opposed to mask mandates , requirements that had angered some suburban parents and businesses, as well as a focus on crime and bail reform.
His win, part of a wave of G.O.P. victories in Nassau County that fall , catapulted Mr. Blakeman to hero status in state Republican circles, with defiant appearances on Fox News only burnishing that reputation.
But Nassau County, with a population of about 1.4 million people , is far from a monolithic G.O.P. stronghold, with more registered Democrats than registered Republicans and nearly 300,000 nonaffiliated voters.
That moderate disposition was proved last week with a win by Tom Suozzi , a Democrat, in a special election in the Third Congressional District, the majority of which is in Nassau County.
Mr. Blakeman was joined at a news conference on Thursday by Kim Russell, a former women’s lacrosse coach at Oberlin College in Ohio who was removed from her position after publicly criticizing the inclusion of transgender women in women’s sports .
The speakers stood at a lectern flanked by school-age girls holding signs that read “Protect Women’s Sports.”
“I’m here, first and foremost, to support all of these young girls here,” said Ms. Russell, who does not live in Nassau County. “Without having the ability to have single-sex competition, these young girls could lose opportunities.”
When Mr. Blakeman was asked at the news conference how many transgender athletes competed in Nassau County, he said he did not know. He said that fewer than 1 percent of the county’s residents identified as transgender, without citing a source, and that he was not sure how many, if any, competed at county facilities.
Instead, he referred to transgender girls who competed on women’s teams outside New York in his remarks, saying that he wanted to “get ahead of the curve here in Nassau County.”
As Mr. Blakeman signed the order, a small group of protesters gathered outside the county executive and legislative building where the news conference was taking place, chanting, “Trans kids are our kids.”
Juli Grey-Owens, the executive director of Gender Equality New York, a group that took part in the protest, said that in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, which have a combined population of around 2.9 million, there were about 17,000 transgender people.
The bigger question, Ms. Grey-Owens said, was how many transgender athletes were even involved in local women’s and girls’ sports.
“Every time that question is asked, they come back with no answer,” she said. “Because they have a solution looking for a problem.”
Jesse McKinley contributed reporting.
An earlier version of this article described incorrectly the timing of Nex Benedict’s death. They died earlier this month, not this week.
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Claire Fahy reports on New York City and the surrounding area for The Times. She can be reached at [email protected]. More about Claire Fahy
Politics in the New York Region
Long Odds: Republicans selected Mike Sapraicone, a former police detective who runs a security firm and positions himself as a moderate, as their preferred nominee in a long-shot bid to unseat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
County Order: A new ban in Long Island’s Nassau County prohibits girls’ and women’s teams with transgender athletes from competing at more than 100 public facilities .
The Road to House Control: Tom Suozzi’s victory in a special House election stopped a Republican winning streak on Long Island, and Democrats contend that his successful approach could portend bigger gains for the party in the fall .
A Redistricting Surprise: When New York was ordered to redraw its congressional map, a commission was created to guide the redistricting process. But the new map looks a lot like the old one. The decision thrusts a legally thorny choice on the state’s Democratic-led Legislature .
A Long Island Swing Seat: John Avlon, a Democrat and former CNN political analyst, announced that he would enter a crowded congressional primary to try to flip a seat on Long Island held by Representative Nick LaLota, the Republican incumbent.
A New York ‘Housing League’: Brooklyn’s borough president and a Manhattan councilman are forming a club of politicians who embrace using development to ease New York City’s housing crisis.