Nobody should have to endure unlawful discrimination in the workplace. If you have been exposed to discrimination in the workplace, you may be wondering what steps you can take. Under state and federal laws, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees because of their gender. At Heninger Garrison Davis, we have helped many clients successfully file discrimination lawsuits, including sexual harassment claims.
Anti-Discrimination Laws in Alabama
Victims of discrimination have a few options when it comes to filing a claim against their employers. Alabama does not have a specific anti-discrimination law. The only exception to this rule involves age-based discrimination. Alabama does have a law that prohibits age discrimination. This law applies to Alabama employers with 20 or more employees.
Federal law protects many employees from discrimination in the workplace. Alabama is one of only a few states that does not have a state agency responsible for accepting discrimination complaints. Most other states require employees to file discrimination complaints with a state agency before pursuing a claim in court. Federal employment law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their membership in a protected class. Protected classes include race, gender, ethnicity, age (when the employee is 40 or older), disability, and religion.
Federal law applies to employers with any amount of employees regarding discrimination based on race or ethnicity. For all other discrimination claims, employers with 15 or more employees must abide by federal anti-discrimination laws. Discrimination can include an employer not hiring you, refusing to give you a raise, firing you, or giving you unfavorable working conditions because of your membership in a protected class.
Filing an EEOC Claim
There is a specific process that you will need to follow to file a discrimination claim successfully. When it comes to most discrimination claims, you will need to file a sworn charge of discrimination with an Alabama Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office. You will need to include your name, address, telephone number, and include your employer’s information.
You also need to include the total number of employees who work at your job location and describe the discriminatory events. For example, you will need to state whether you were fired, harassed, or demoted based on your membership in a protected class. Be sure to include when the events took place and the type of discrimination that happened. Once you sign your letter and submit it, the EEOC will begin to investigate your claim and contact you if they need more information. You will be able to check the status of your claim online.
Statute of Limitations
Most people are not aware that there is a strict time limit for filing employment discrimination claims with the EEOC. If you have experienced workplace discrimination, you will need to file a claim with the EEOC within 180 days of the discriminatory act. If you do not file your claim within this time., you will lose the right to bring your lawsuit under federal anti-discrimination laws. There are different time requirements for sexual harassment cases. If you experience sexual harassment, the 180-day time frame typically starts to run after the sexual harassment ends. After the EEOC issues you a letter stating that you have a right to sue your employer, you will only have 90 days to file the lawsuit.
If your employer has refused to hire you or promote you because of your race or ethnicity, you will have two years to bring your lawsuit to court. If your claim involves another type of discrimination, such as unlawful termination or a hostile work environment, you will have four years to bring the lawsuit. This is a relatively recent ruling from the US Supreme Court, and some lower courts have not had time to interpret the decision. Likewise, if you are bringing a lawsuit under the Family Medical Leave Act, you will have two years unless the violation was willful, in which case you will have three years to bring your lawsuit.
Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer on Your Side
As you can see, the time during which you must file your lawsuit depends on your case’s specifics. It is incredibly crucial that you meet all of the requirements for submitting and discrimination lawsuit, or you will risk losing your ability to do so. Contact Heninger Garrison Davis today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can advocate for you.