Discrimination Lawyers in Charlotte, Fighting Back Against Injustice in the Workplace
Anti-discrimination laws have evolved significantly over the years. For instance, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 now covers statuses such as gender identity — even though the original law didn’t specifically mention such protections. Unfortunately, employment discrimination seems to remain an issue even as our nation becomes more focused on equal treatment among America’s workers. If you’ve been fired, refused a position, or otherwise negatively impacted due to your position in a protected class, you may have a valid legal claim against an employer. A discrimination lawyer in Charlotte can help you better understand your rights.
At Harman Law, our legal team has seen what acts of discrimination can do. We’ve seen confidence destroyed and lives ruined. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the outcome you live with. If you’re facing discrimination based on race, religious practices, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other protected classes, you may be entitled to compensation that helps you achieve some form of justice. Even job candidates who have not yet been hired enjoy such protections under the law, so if you’ve experienced discrimination at any level of the employment process, contact Harman Law today for a confidential consultation.
What Is Employment Discrimination?
Employment discrimination is defined as illegal workplace discrimination based on one or more protected classes under U.S. law. Many statutes regarding discrimination claims are federal in nature, but states have also passed their own laws. In fact, North Carolina passed sweeping legislation in 1972 even when state governments were not yet covered under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These laws went into effect when racial discrimination was a significant issue in America, but race is far from the only protected class under the statutes.
Additionally, other laws confer additional protections similar to the Civil Rights Act. For instance, the Equal Pay Act was signed into law a year prior to the Civil Rights Act, and it outlawed pay discrimination based on sex. The Americans With Disabilities Act is another piece of landmark legislation that is meant to prevent individuals from being discriminated against in the workplace. Clearly, there are many legal protections afforded to protected classes under the law. If you feel your rights have been violated under any of these statutes, it’s imperative that you seek out an employment discrimination attorney in Charlotte.
Types of Discrimination in the Workplace
When people think of workplace-based discrimination, there are typically only a few things that come to mind. These include racial discrimination, violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, and discrimination based on sex. However, there are far more protected statuses under the law. These include:
- National origin
- Sex (including pregnancy and childbirth)
- Age (40 or older)
- Mental or physical disabilities
- Genetic information
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- Military service
- AIDS/HIV status
- Sickle cell or hemoglobin C trait
- Using legal products while not at work (e.g., tobacco, alcohol)
Employment discrimination based on any of these factors is illegal under state or federal law — and oftentimes both. You have the right to report such issues to your employer free of retaliation. If you’re fired due to reporting such discrimination, you may be entitled to additional compensation. The one thing to remember is that these cases are incredibly complex, and some will need approval by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before ever seeing the inside of a courtroom.
This is why we recommend speaking with discrimination lawyers in Charlotte prior to making any major decisions. At Harman Law, we’re ready to advocate on your behalf. Contact us today for a one-on-one consultation.
What Damages Are Available in Discrimination Cases?
Both state and federal laws provide protection against discrimination. However, what happens if you’re able to prove that you’ve experienced discriminatory actions? What can compensate you for the difficulties you’ve had to go through? Under federal law — where most employment discrimination cases take place — the intent is to make the victim “whole.” This means putting the victim as close as possible to the position they’d possess had the discrimination not occurred. This is done in a variety of ways, including:
- Back pay
- Out-of-pocket expenses (e.g., job search costs)
- Reinstatement when appropriate
- Front pay when reinstatement is not appropriate
- Lost benefits
- Damages for emotional distress
In addition to these forms of compensation, it’s also possible that punitive damages may be awarded. These are far rarer than the compensatory damages described above since they require that an especially egregious, malicious, or reckless act of discrimination has occurred. Such damages are not meant to reimburse the victim for losses — even though employment law dictates that the money does go to the victim — but rather as a means of punishing the defendant for extremely inappropriate actions. This is meant to deter similar behavior in the future.
Can Charlotte Discrimination Lawyers Really Help?
A common question our Charlotte employment discrimination lawyers get is, “Do I really need an attorney?” After all, everyone has the right to work without facing discrimination. And if you have a valid discrimination claim, the law doesn’t require you to have legal representation to seek compensation. However, we hope that this guide has made it clear just how complex such cases can be. It’s very unlikely that your employer will admit that they’ve engaged in racial, gender, disability, or age discrimination — or any other form of illegal activity — so it’s contingent on you to prove that such actions occurred.
This can be an uphill battle. For instance, imagine that an employer engages in race discrimination by paying an African-American worker less than his Caucasian counterparts. While snide comments made by the employer may make it clear to the worker that discrimination is occurring, the business owner is more likely to claim the pay discrepancy is based on experience level. Proving otherwise can be difficult — particularly once the employer realizes they’re at risk. They may hide evidence, fire complaining employees, and take other actions to hide their guilt or culpability.
A skilled attorney can help uncover this evidence. Additionally, a legal professional with experience in discrimination claims will understand which statutes have been violated. They’ll understand the difference between federal and state laws — in addition to the varying statutes of limitations for both — and how to proceed with your case in the most ideal way possible. Such benefits explain why individuals with legal representation walk away with higher settlements and court awards on average. Let a discrimination lawyer in Charlotte help you seek justice.
Contact an Employment Discrimination Lawyer Today
As someone who works in America, you have the right to earn a living free of discrimination, bigoted behaviors, inappropriate actions, and outside of a hostile work environment. It is contingent on most employers to provide such conditions, and if they fail to do so, you may have a valid discrimination complaint. Unfortunately, it’s not always a simple process to be compensated for unfair treatment in your job. Proving that workplace discrimination even took place can be complicated, and you can bet that an employer will fight back at every turn. This is why it’s so important to have an employment law professional on your side.
At Harman Law, our legal team has spent years representing victims of workplace discrimination and other employment rights violations. We know that standing up for your rights and being heard may seem intimidating, but we’re ready to advocate on your behalf and provide the support you need to move forward. Whether you experienced illegal actions at a former job or by prospective employers, our law firm is committed to ensuring you receive justice. Contact us today by calling (704) 286-0947 to schedule a confidential consultation. With a discrimination lawyer in Charlotte on your side, it’s possible to expose an employer’s actions and receive justice.