ELISA S. RIVES, LLC 2003
Employment Discrimination / Harassment
Employment discrimination occurs when an employee's job or job conditions are changed or
terminated based on one or more impermissible factors. These factors include, but are not
limited to: race, age, gender, and religious affiliation. The affected job conditions can include
changes in: salary, work schedule or shift, work location, duties or responsibilities, and
Employment harassment occurs when an individual is subjected to a demeaning or dangerous
work environment based on the factors discussed above. Such an environment can include
offensive jokes, unwanted touching or advances, or being placed in a situation by superiors or
coworkers that is designed to make one quit or resign. Most often an affected employee has
suffered numerous instances of adverse employment conditions over a long period of time.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the governmental agency
responsible for investigating charges of employment discrimination or harassment in the
workplace. The EEOC may bring a law suit on behalf of workers, or they may work with
employers to correct any discriminatory practices that have been identified within the
company. The reality is that the EEOC actually litigates only a tiny fraction of the tens of
thousands of complaints that are filed each year. Most often, the EEOC will do a cursory
review of the complaint and then issue the affected employee a "right to sue" letter which gives
the employee the opportunity to file suit in federal court. Thousands of people with legitimate
claims never pursue their case.
In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber, the United States Supreme Court tightened the
time limits for filing suits based on job discrimination in terms of pay. One of the first pieces of
legislation in President Obama's first administration was to address the issue of time
constraints passing what has been termed the Lilly Ledbetter Law, but there are still
limitation periods to consider for this type of case and others. Accordingly, it is imperative that
anyone who believes they are the victim of discrimination or harassment or other
impermissible employer conduct contact the EEOC or an attorney for a consultation as soon as
they suspect a problem.
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