The executive order 10925 signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 established laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against employees and applicants based on their race, creed, national origin, color or ethnicity. The executive order paved the way for the anti-discrimination policies described in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The governing body which became known as the EEOC has enforced the mandates of the of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1976, The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The EEOC provides court hearings for individuals who have experienced discrimination or harassment at the workplace.
The EEOC establishes rules and regulations that attempt to regulate employer and employee/applicant relations at the workplace. The EEOC mandates that all employees must be treated equally and that employers should adopt policies to ensure the equal treatment of all employees at the workplace. Equal treatment of all employees means that all employees should have the opportunity to the benefits of the company including promotions, raises, and other job placements. If an employer provides a disabled employee with light-weight duty, your employer would then have to provide this accommodation for anyone with a similar disability.
The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains that an employee or applicant may face discrimination based on the following: age, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, race/color, religion, sex, retaliation, sexual harassment, and equal pay and compensation. The laws that guide the EEOC protect employees against employment discrimination when there is:
- Rejection of reasonable accommodations for disabled people or for religious purposes
- Harassment by the people you encounter at work including non-employees, co-workers, managers, and other staff. Employees may be harassed based on their religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), age, genetic information, disability, and national origin.
- Vengeance or retaliation for filing a complaint or assisting with a complaint about the discrimination at the workplace
- Any unfair or unwelcomed treatment because of your age, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, race/color, religion, and sex
Across the United States employees are protected from discrimination policies or practices in the workplace. If you feel you are being discriminated against and your employer fails to provide immediate remedies to the situation, you are capable of filing a complaint to the EEOC office and have your complaint heard by an EEOC administrative judge. The California Sexual Harassment Attorneys believe that discrimination at the workplace can create a hostile environment for honest hard working people. If your workplace becomes an unwelcoming place due to constant harassment or due to discrimination policies, you are encouraged to speak with an attorney to determine the most proper course of action for your case. The California Sexual Harassment Attorneys can be reached at 800-905-1856, with any concern regarding discrimination and harassment at the workplace. Our team is ready to assist your case and provide legal guidance throughout the EEOC complaint process.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Laws and Practices
The EEOC is governed by various policies that provide extensive literature on how to deal with different discrimination cases at the workplace. However, it is crucial to understand that each case/complaint produces different results due to various factors including when the complaint was filed, the number of employees within the company, the type of discrimination, and the severity of the situation. When an EEOC complaint is filed there are numerous steps that are taken to determine the severity of the situation and to determine if, in fact, your discrimination case is a basis for remedies. To learn more about your case we encourage you to speak with a local state attorney who can provide legal guidance for your situation.
To determine if individuals have experienced workplace discrimination or harassment, the EEOC refers to its governing policies. The following is a description of the policies that guide the EEOC:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: this law provides that it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of their religion, color, race, national origin, or sex. This law provides that all disabled employees should be treated with reasonable accommodations in the workplace. Employers cannot provide reasonable accommodations to one person and then deny them to another person with a similar disability. In addition, the law provides that your employer cannot harass or retaliate against an employee who has filed an employment discrimination complaint or who has assisted with an employment discrimination complaint
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA): this law provides that it is illegal to discriminate an employee because of childbirth, pregnancy, and medical conditions that may arise from childbirth. In addition, an employer cannot discriminate against a single mother or a pregnant person who is not married.
- The Age of Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA): this law provides it is illegal to discriminate against a person that is older than the age of 40. In many countries individuals face discrimination in the workplace after the age of 35, the US protects the right to find employment for anyone over the age of 40.
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA): this law provides that is illegal to pay men and women differently if they are performing the same task in the workplace.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: these laws provide that it is illegal to discriminate against a qualified employee or applicant with a disability. Employers are required to treat disabled employees with the same rights and benefits of the workplace. In addition, these laws provide that employers must provide reasonable accommodations at the workplace unless the reasonable accommodations would produce unfavorable hardships for the company.
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA): this law provides that it is illegal to discriminate against individuals because of diseases, or disorders that are part of their genetic makeup. An employer cannot discriminate against qualified employees based on the employee or applicant genetic information.
Understanding the laws above is crucial for determining the type of discrimination you have faced in the workplace. When you face a discrimination or harassment from an employer from people in the workplace, it is the duty of your employer or supervisor to correct the situation so to avoid repeated occurrences. If your employer fails to correct the actions which violate any of the regulations enforced by the EEOC, you are entitled to file a complaint to the EEOC office and have your case evaluated by a judge. Filing an EEOC complaint is your right and you are protected from employer retaliation in any event.
To learn more about the guiding policies of the EEOC please visit the following website: https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/index.cfm
Filing an EEOC Complaint
Filing an EEOC complaint is a simple process that is handled by the EEO Counselor. It is advised that you contact an EEO counselor the day that your incident occurred or as soon as possible. The EEOC provides that employees or applicants who have been discriminated have approximately 180 to 300 days to file their case.
Before a filing a formal complaint to the EEOC, you must first contact an EEO Counselor who will listen and document your case. The EEO Counselor will usually provide two options to settle your case without having to file a formal complaint. In many cases, the EEO Counselor will provide you with the options to settle your case through EEOC counseling or through an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). These methods allow employers and employees to meet in informal settings to settle the dispute before entering a courtroom. Your employer will most likely settle the dispute through this procedure. However, if your employer fails to accommodate your requests or fails to provide remedies to the discriminatory incident, you are entitled to a final interview with your EEO Counselor.
In the final interview, your counselor will advise you on whether you should pursue a complaint and how to file a formal complaint. After you receive instruction on how to file a complaint you should file a complaint no later than 15 days from the date you received the instructions from your counselor. The EEOC is required to give you enough time to file your complaint.
In your claim needs to include the following information:
- Your contact information including your full legal name, your address, and your cell phone or telephone number
- The contact information (address, email, phone number) of the person or entity you wish to file a claim against
- A detailed description of the incident at the workplace. Include details such as being demoted, being harassed by your supervisor or other individuals in the workplace, or other discriminatory incidents.
- The number of employees at the workplace
- Include the reasons why you believe you were discriminated against. Remember that discrimination can be based on a person's color, race, sex, religion, disability or national origin.
- Include a description of any injury (mental or physical) that you might have suffered as a result of the discriminatory incident
- Finish your statement with your signature or a signature of your legal representative. If you document is not signed it will not be investigated
Once the claim is sent to the EEOC office the investigation will begin and should conclude within 180 days of the commencement of the investigation. You may add additional claims to your complaint but keep in mind that each complaint can add up to 90 days to your investigation. After the investigation, you are entitled to a court hearing or to a decision by the agency based on the findings. Anytime during the investigation or before the court hearing, your employer is capable of settling the case. If the case is settled outside of a courtroom the agreement will have to be honored by both parties and the investigation discontinues.
Each case is different, meaning that each case has different factors which produce different remedies and compensations. The type of remedy or relief a person can receive will depend on the discriminatory incident and the effect it had on the employee or applicant. For example, if you were discriminated for a promotion or job offer your remedies may include placement on the job that denied or receiving the promotion you were denied. In addition, the employer would be required to correct the discriminatory incident so that any future occurrences could be avoided.
Remedies can include compensatory or punitive damages:
- Compensatory damages: the victim is provided with money and other compensations for their physical or mental harm. The employee or applicant may also be covered by any medical costs associated with the discriminatory incident.
- Punitive damages: are used to punish employers of victims of discrimination.
In some cases employees can claim $50,000 to $300,000 dollars in compensatory and punitive damages. To learn more about remedies please visit the EEOC website at https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/remedies.cfm
The California Sexual Harassment Attorney understands that each discriminatory incident is unique due to the circumstances, the state law, and other factors that contribute to the severity of the case. To learn more about the rights and privileges of all employees in the workplace, please contact our legal experts at 800-905-1856. We are ready to help you claim remedies for any loss of enjoyment of life caused by a work-related discriminatory incident. Our professionals will help you file your claim to the EEOC and will stand by your side throughout a court hearing or a settlement process.