Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

My boss is really mean to me.  Would this be considered discrimination?

It largely depends on what your boss is actually saying or doing.  If your boss is being mean to you because of your race, age, gender, etc., and you feel you have the evidence to prove that, then yes, it could be considered discrimination.  That said, the laws generally don’t protect employees against mean or difficult bosses.  You must be in one of the protected classes AND the boss’s conduct must be serious enough to have adverse effects on you.  Again, there is some gray area here so if you are thinking you may have a case, it’s best to contact us for a consultation.

I know I’m being discriminated against but I’m afraid to say anything for fear of what my employer will do. What are my rights?

If you are being discriminated against, it is within your legal rights to report it.   Your employer is prohibited from retaliating against you for reporting employment discrimination, filing a lawsuit due to discrimination or for participating in an investigation of such discrimination. For that reason, you shouldn’t be afraid to contact an attorney or to pursue the protection of the law.

I was fired but I don’t believe it was justified.  Is this discrimination?
It depends on a number of factors.  In general, if your employer has been documenting disciplinary actions that they have taken against you and they’ve been sharing this with you, then they probably have a case for firing you.  That said, if you have not received any warnings or notice of documented discipline, you may have a case depending on your employers internal policies and what they cited as your reason for termination.

What do I need to prove I’ve been discriminated against?

Proving discrimination can be difficult because it often happens behind closed doors.  With that said, if your employer makes comments to you about your age, race, gender, etc. and how these things affect your job, start documenting the date and time they happened.  Be sure to write down the exact statement they made.  If you feel you are being discriminated against and need help building a case, contact us for a consultation.

Can you file a discrimination case if you feel someone didn’t hire you on the basis of race, age, pregnancy, etc.?

You can, but proving someone did not hire you because of one of these things may difficult.  There would need to be evidence that your claim is justified.  If they said something to you during the interview process that indicates they may have discriminated against you, document it and contact us.

How are you paid for employment discrimination cases?

We work for you for free until your case is won.  Once we receive a settlement for you, we would be given a fee from your settlement.

Racial Discrimination

My co-workers constantly use racial slurs at work.  Is that discrimination?

Yes, you may have a case.  We can help you prepare the necessary documentation to support a scenario like this, so contact us for a consultation.

Age Discrimination

I believe I was passed up for a promotion because of my age.  Is this discrimination?

Yes, the laws prohibit employers from treating employees differently because of their age.  If you were passed over for a promotion and the job went to a younger employee, you may be able to prove you were discriminated against.

Who is covered under the Age Discrimination Act?

In general, employees that are 40 or older and are employed by a company that has 20 or more employees are protected under this act.

Is anyone else not protected by age-related laws?

Yes, some public service jobs such as police officers, firefighters, tenured faculty at universities and some federal employees have contracts that require them to retire by a certain age.

Do I have to disclose my age on a job application?

No, employers should not ask your age or date of birth.  If they do, document this in case you don’t get hired and feel that it may have been because of your age.

Gender/Sex Discrimination

My male counterparts are being paid more than I am for doing the same job and I feel I’m being discriminated against because I’m woman.  How should I handle this?

An employer can’t pay someone differently because of their gender so you should contact us for a consultation.

I’m a female and recently interviewed for a new job.  The employer asked if I was planning to have kids.  Is this allowed?

No, an employer should not ask this type of question in an interview.

My male boss keeps making unprofessional comments about my appearance and flirting with me.  He’s making me uncomfortable at work.  Is he allowed to do this?

No, he’s not.  Sexual harassment falls in to the category of gender discrimination.  Start documenting his comments and contact us for a consultation.

Disabilities Discrimination

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 provides a lot of protection for individuals with disabilities in the workplace.  For more detailed information about this act, visit https://www.ada.gov/

I am disabled but want to work.  What should I expect from my employer?

Under the ADA employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities at work.  With that said, what is considered “reasonable” will vary considerably based on the type of job you are working in.  If you feel that you are being treated differently at work because of a disability, contact us for a consultation.

Religion Discrimination

Am I allowed to take off to celebrate my religious holidays?

Employers are supposed to allow employees time off to celebrate their religious affiliations.  That said, there are limits to this as employers don’t have to allow time off if they can prove the employee not being at work would cause hardship for the business.

Do all employers have to abide by religious discrimination laws?

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that an individual can’t be discriminated against based on their religion.  While employers should just adhere to this across the board, there is a loop hole in the law that states an employer must have 15 employees or more to be subject to Title VII.

Is it ok for me to express my religious beliefs at work?

It depends.  If your employer can prove that your religious beliefs are causing economic hardship for them, they may be able to prevent you from expressing them at work.

Military Service Discrimination

I’m in the military and was called for active duty.  Is my job safe?

Your job, or a similar position, should be available to you for up to 5 years.  You should be able to return to your job as if you never left.

Is there any reason by job wouldn’t be safe after returning from active duty?

Yes, employers are not required to re-employ you if business has changed dramatically and they can’t reasonably do so.  If you’ve been dishonorably discharged, they are also not required to re-employ you.

Financial Health Discrimination

I’m filing for bankruptcy.  Could my employer fire me if they find out?

No, bankruptcy laws state that an employer can’t fire an employer for filing bankruptcy.

I have bad credit.  Can someone refuse to hire me because of it?

In some cases, yes.  Some employers require credit checks.  If your credit doesn’t meet their standards, they may be able to legally deny your employment.

Citizenship Status and Nationality Discrimination

Are undocumented immigrants covered under employment discrimination laws?

In general, businesses can deny someone employment if they are an illegal immigrant.  In fact, companies are only supposed to hire individuals that are authorized to live and work here.  That said, in some cases discrimination laws may cover an illegal immigrant so it is best to contact us for a consultation.

My employer wants me to speak English-only at work.  Is this allowed?

An employer can request you speak English at work when interacting with customers. Co-workers or the public on the business’s behalf.  This may be necessary to run the business effectively and efficiently.  However, your employer can’t make you speak English on your breaks or lunchtime.

Can an employer ask my citizenship or about my country of origin during an interview?

Not during an interview.  That said, if you are offered the position, the company has the right to request proof that you are authorized to live and work here.

Genetic Information Discrimination

What is genetic discrimination?

Genetic discrimination refers to when someone is treated differently by an employer or insurance company because they have a gene mutation that may come with an increased risk of illness.  It is illegal to discriminate against employees because of genetic information.

For more information about this genetic discrimination, click here.

Financial Health Discrimination

I’m filing for bankruptcy.  Could my employer fire me if they find out?

No, bankruptcy laws state that an employer can’t fire an employer for filing bankruptcy.

I have bad credit.  Can someone refuse to hire me because of it?

In some cases, yes.  Some employers require credit checks.  If your credit doesn’t meet their standards, they may be able to legally deny your employment.

Citizenship Status and Nationality Discrimination

Are undocumented immigrants covered under employment discrimination laws?

In general, businesses can deny someone employment if they are an illegal immigrant.  In fact, companies are only supposed to hire individuals that are authorized to live and work here.  That said, in some cases discrimination laws may cover an illegal immigrant so it is best to contact us for a consultation.

My employer wants me to speak English-only at work. Is this allowed?

An employer can request you speak English at work when interacting with customers. Co-workers or the public on the business’s behalf.  This may be necessary to run the business effectively and efficiently.  However, your employer can’t make you speak English on your breaks or lunchtime.

Can an employer ask my citizenship or about my country of origin during an interview?

Not during an interview.  That said, if you are offered the position, the company has the right to request proof that you are authorized to live and work here.

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