With all of the current progress being made in the area of civil rights and in the fight to obtain equality for all Americans, many employees still encounter significant issues in their workplace related to discrimination and harassment. An analysis on reported incidents of discrimination in the workplace demonstrates how problematic these on-going issues are for many workers around the country.
The Denver Channel reported on recently released data that shows workplace discrimination may be more widespread than previously thought.
Survey shows most Americans see some kind of discrimination at work
The survey found that about sixty percent of workers throughout the U.S. have witnessed discrimination based on age, race, gender, or sexual orientation or been a victim themselves. The poll conducted by Glassdoor found that age discrimination and race discrimination were the most common, but discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation come in as a close second, affecting at least one third of all workers surveyed. The numbers for a similar poll conducted in Europe found that discrimination is slightly less common in countries such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Fortunately, employees in the U.S. do feel that though discriminatory conduct persists, companies are also making efforts to increase diversity in the workplace. About sixty-four percent of all U.S. workers say that their companies have invested in diversity and inclusion in recent years, and these efforts are now more prevalent than in the past.
A senior economist with Glassdoor released a statement about diversity along with the poll results. He remained positive that efforts to increase diversity will ultimately change the workplace for the better and help eliminate discrimination over time. Middle management all the way through C-level executives are being affected by diversity efforts in many companies. Managers and executives with prior experience in human resources have the know-how to ultimately help people of all backgrounds feel welcome in their companies as these companies continue working towards becoming more inclusive.
While it may seem that workplace discrimination is so common and widespread that there is little which can be done, there are actually employment attorneys who specialize in helping people with workplace issues. Employers violating federal laws related to civil rights and nondiscrimination may have to pay fines and other damages to victims. Getting help from the correct attorney can be the difference between suffering through a bad situation at work versus fixing the situation permanently.
There is a formal process for claims of discrimination in the state of Colorado, just like every other state in the country. Your lawyer can help you contact your local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) branch and file a charge of discrimination on your behalf, or you can choose to file a charge of discrimination independently. Either way, an employer absolutely cannot retaliate against you for filing a discrimination claim. The law protects employees against retaliation by their employers for exercising their constitutionally protected rights, such as filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The complaint usually needs to be filed within 180 days from the date of the discrimination. This deadline is extended to 300 days if a state or local agency enforces state laws that prohibits employment discrimination on the same basis. For example, in Colorado, the Colorado Civil Rights Division enforces Colorado’s state laws concerning the prohibition of discrimination in the workplace, thus aggrieved employees typically have 300 days to file their charge of discrimination with the EEOC. This means that it is best not to wait too long and speak with a lawyer sooner rather than later. Federal employees generally have to adhere to different procedures with different timelines.
The claim itself must contain the contact information of the victim along with the identity and address of the employer. Additionally, the wronged employee should include as much specific information as possible regarding the incident including dates, locations, witnesses, and evidence such as emails or other documentation if it is available. The EEOC normally uses all of this information to launch their own independent investigation before determining how they will proceed with the claim. Sometimes, the EEOC may choose to have the employer and employee resolve the situation through a mediator or other alternative dispute process.
When a claim is resolved in an employee’s favor, they may receive lost wages, lost benefits, reinstatement, or any other kind of remedy that is meant to fix the situation created by the employer. Some victims may also have their legal fees paid for by the employer as a form of punishment. Even if the EEOC denies a claim, it is still usually possible to have an attorney file a private lawsuit in civil court against the company responsible. This will include all the standard procedures of a civil case such as court filings, depositions, and a trial or settlement at the conclusion.
Talk to a local labor and employment lawyer
If you have had any issues with your employer in the Denver area including discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, or unpaid wages, there is help available. The attorneys at Anderson Barkley, LLC can represent you and make sure your employer is acting in compliance with the law.