As an employee, you have legal rights that outlaw discrimination in the workplace and prohibit unfavorable or unfair treatment based on a variety of established categories. Even with those rights in place, there were 84,254 individual charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2017.
If you believe you have been discriminated against, our West Virginia employment lawyers will fight for you. We understand how difficult it can be to pursue justice against your employer. We will do whatever it takes to get you the justice you deserve while making the process as easy for you as possible.
Defining Workplace Discrimination
In order to prove you’ve been discriminated against, you need to be able to define the act of discrimination you were subjected. Discrimination in the workplace is defined as an employer treating an applicant or employee unfavorably or unfairly because of personal characteristics that are protected by law.
The EEOC establishes what those characteristics are, why they are protected, and what the penalties are when employers violate the law. If you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, it will fall into one of the categories listed below:
- Age. Employers are not allowed to treat employees or applicants differently because they are over the age of 40.
- Disability. Employees and applicants have the right to reasonable accommodations. Employers are not allowed to treat applicants or employees unfairly because of their physical or mental disabilities.
- Equal Pay. Regardless of gender, individuals are entitled to equal compensation for equal work.
- Genetics. An employer is not allowed to obtain or ask for genetic information on their employees or applicants.
- Harassment. Harassment is a form of discrimination that creates a hostile and uncomfortable work environment. The offender can be an employer, supervisor, coworker, or customer. Your employers’ job is to prevent and handle instances of harassment, including sexual harassment.
- National Origin. Employers are not allowed to treat applicants or employees differently because of where they are from.
- Pregnancy. Pregnant women are allowed the same rights as all other employees, including before, during, and after childbirth.
- Race. Employers are obligated to treat all employees and applicants the same, regardless of race or color.
- Religion. An employer cannot prevent an employee from practicing any one religion. Employees are allowed to practice as they see fit. Employers cannot treat their employees differently because of their spouses’ religion.
- Retaliation. In the event you file a discrimination claim, your employer is not allowed to punish you for doing so.
- Sex/Gender. Employers are not allowed to treat employees or applicants differently based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
Documentation Is Key When Proving Discrimination
If you believe you’ve been a victim of discrimination or harassment in your workplace, proving your claim can be difficult without the help of an experienced attorney. With the right legal team, you’ll be able to gather the evidence you need to hold your employer accountable for what you’ve been through. Most of you proof will come in the form of the following types of documentation:
- Written Logs. If you think you’ve been discriminated against, record what happened, the date, the time, who was involved, and who may have witnessed what occurred. Record any other discriminatory events in a similar fashion.
- Employment Record. Your personnel record may play a crucial role in helping your attorney build your discrimination case in the event your file contains information about performance reviews and any disciplinary warnings.
- Company Handbook. In the event you have a company handbook, your attorney will want to review it thoroughly. These handbooks typically contain anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. If your employer did not follow their own written policy, you have a better chance at proving the instances of discrimination.
- Physical Evidence. While physical evidence can be harder to document, it will play an absolutely crucial role in your claim. If you received any lewd pictures, inappropriate emails, or other requests, make sure to keep copies of these for your lawyer.
- Witness Accounts. If there were any witnesses to the acts of discrimination against you, it will likely benefit your case to have their testimony. If you can, provide your lawyer with a list of names and contact information.
- Medical Records. If you’ve developed a physical or mental condition as a result of the discrimination you’ve faced, it’s important to give that information to your lawyer. You’ll want to have the official diagnoses from your primary care doctor, as well as any related medical bills.
The Benefit of Legal Representation in West Virginia
At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, we have a history of successfully representing employees in a variety of industries and will help you hold your negligent employer responsible for their actions. We can help you with your EEOC claim, and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure you receive full and fair compensation for the treatment you’ve been wrongfully subjected to. For more information, contact our office today.