Nobody should have to experience employment discrimination in Virginia. Workplace discrimination happens when employees or potential employees experience unfair treatment because of their age, race, gender, disability, national origin, or religion. Experiencing employee discrimination can make an employee’s life extremely difficult. State and federal laws prohibit workplace discrimination based on protected characteristics. Unfortunately, workplace discrimination still happens in Virginia and throughout the country.
The experienced employment lawyers at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC have a successful track record of representing Virginia employees in workplace discrimination claims. As a Virginia employee, you have rights that your employer must respect. When employers engage in discrimination, employees have a right to hold them accountable by filing an employment discrimination claim. If your employer has discriminated against you, it’s important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation, and you don’t want to miss the filing deadline. Contact Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we can advocate for you.
Types of Illegal Virginia Employment Discrimination
Virginia’s Human Rights Act and several federal laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibit certain types of employment-based discrimination. Employers cannot discriminate or treat one employee differently than other employees based on any of the following protected characteristics:
- Disability (mental or physical)
- Marital status
- Genetic information
Illegal workplace discrimination can happen in several different ways. In some cases, an employer may refuse to hire an otherwise qualified candidate based on his or her religion, age, or disability. In other cases, employers will refuse to promote an employee who otherwise deserves a promotion because of his or her age. Employers cannot discriminate when making any type of hiring, firing, or human resources decision.
Sexual Harassment Is a Form of Workplace Discrimination
Under federal and state law, sexual harassment is a type of illegal workplace discrimination. At the federal level, sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual attention, such as physical or verbal conduct that is sexual, sexual advances, and requests for sexual favors. Sexual harassment can also include receiving unwanted sexual comments or explicit photos or videos from co-workers or supervisors.
In some cases, co-workers or supervisors make offensive sexual jokes, creating a hostile work environment. If you’ve been the target of sexual harassment, or even if you’ve been exposed to sexual harassment in the workplace, you may have a right to file a claim against your employer. The best thing you can do is speak with an experienced lawyer who will advise you of your legal options.
Filing a Claim for Virginia Employment Discrimination
When employers illegally discriminate against their employees based on one of the characteristics listed above, they have a right to file a claim against the employer. Employees can file a discrimination claim with the Virginia Division of Human Rights (DHR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), depending on whether they choose to file a federal or state-based claim.
Employees can file a claim with the Virginia Council of Human Rights or the federal U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Federal employment laws typically only govern employers who have 15 or more employees. Employers with fewer than 15 employers must comply with Virginia’s Human Rights Act.
Employees who’ve experienced illegal workplace discrimination may be entitled to different types of relief, such as compensation for their lost wages, lost benefits, and lost workplace opportunities. When appropriate, judges have the power to reinstate an employee to his or her position or compel the employer to take another type of action that is equitable. For example, if an employer wrongfully denied an employee’s promotion based on her gender, the court could require the employer to give her the promotion. Successful claimants can also seek compensation for their emotional pain and suffering related to workplace discrimination.
Meeting the Deadline for Your Employment Discrimination Claim
The deadline for filing an employment discrimination claim with the Virginia Council on human rights is short, and it’s important that you don’t miss the deadline. You must file your claim within 180 days of the date the workplace discrimination occurred. If you plan to file a claim with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you must submit your claim within 300 days of the date the workplace discrimination occurred. It’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after the discrimination happens, so you don’t miss out on your opportunity to file a claim.
What happens after you file a claim? Every case is unique, but, in many cases, the federal or state agency hearing your claim will review the facts in your case. The agency may decide to investigate your claim by interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence from your employer. After the investigative process is done, the agency will determine whether your employer engaged in illegal discrimination.
When the agency decides that discrimination occurred, the agency will attempt to mediate a settlement agreement between you and your employer. If you cannot reach a settlement agreement, the agency may file a lawsuit against your employer. When the agency does not find that discrimination happened, or decides not to file a lawsuit, you have the option to file a lawsuit against your employer in a state or federal court.
How Our Virginia Employment Lawyers Can Help You
The process of filing a workplace discrimination complaint can become complicated. If you’ve experienced workplace discrimination in Virginia, your best option is to speak to a knowledgeable employment lawyer. Your lawyer will help you preserve valuable evidence and ensure that your discrimination claim has the greatest likelihood of a successful outcome. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, our experienced lawyers have the skills necessary to advocate for your rights throughout the process. Contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can advocate for you.