Employment Discrimination 101

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All United States workers are protected by a variety of federal and state employment regulations. In addition to provisions related to minimum wage, break times, and more, employment laws are designed to prevent discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, despite these regulations, many employers continue to violate workers’ rights. If you have experienced employment discrimination at the hands of your employer, read on to learn how to seek justice.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, U.S. workers are protected from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (and pregnancy), disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, and religion. Generally, this law applies to any employer with at least 15 employees.

In addition to this federal mandate, several states have adopted their own anti-discrimination laws based on Title VII. Under Kentucky’s Civil Rights Act, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee for all of the aforementioned reasons or, additionally, on the basis of the following:

  • Physical or mental disability

  • Age over 40

  • AIDS/HIV status

  • Smoker/nonsmoker status

  • Use of tobacco while not on duty

  • Occupational pneumoconiosis as a result of coal dust exposure

Additionally, in Indiana, state laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees for all of the same reasons listed under Title VII in addition to the following:

  • Age from 40-75

  • Use of tobacco while off duty

  • Veteran status

  • Ancestry

  • Sealed or expunged criminal record

While Kentucky and Indiana follow the “at-will doctrine”—which means that employees do not have protection from being fired or demoted regardless of whether it is for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all—Title VII prohibits employers from firing or demoting employees on the basis of any of the protected clauses under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in addition to the following:

  • Employers may not refuse to hire, fire, discipline, deny training or promotions, pay less, or harass any employee on the basis of their membership in one of the protected clauses.

  • Employers may not retaliate (take adverse employment action, including discharge, suspension, denial of a promotion, or reduction of pay) against employees who report unlawful discrimination.

Taking Action Against Employment Discrimination

If you have experienced employment discrimination at the hands of your employer, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. Employers who violate Title VII may be required to pay damages to the employee affected. This compensation is meant to restore the employee to the economic position they would have been in had their employer not violated the law.

Employers may be required to pay the employee in question the following damages:

  • Back pay

  • Future pay

  • The value of lost employment benefits

  • Emotional pain and mental anguish

  • Other non-economic losses up to certain statutory limits

If you want to seek justice against your employer for employment discrimination, you may file a claim in federal or state court. Each method has unique advantages and disadvantages, yet both involve complex legal processes. It’s in your best interest to contact an experienced workplace discrimination attorney who can help you navigate these processes and help you achieve an optimal outcome.

At Charles W. Miller & Associates, our employment discrimination attorneys work to ensure your charge and claim are filed properly and that the proper authorities preserve any possible claims you may have. We’re prepared to put our 20 years of experience in employment law to work for you to achieve an optimal solution for your unique situation.

Contact Charles W. Miller & Associates at (502) 890-9954 to learn how we can assist you today.

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