Our employment discrimination attorneys help victims of employment discrimination and harassment and employers resolve and understand claims of employment discrimination in the state of Maryland, Washington DC and Northern Virginia.
What is employment discrimination?
The most straight forward type of employment discrimination involves disparate treatment. The simple explanation of this theory is that one employee is treated differently than another by the employer due to the fact of what he/she is (black or white; male or female, etcetera) and not the quality of his/her work or performance.
Example: Both John and Mary skip work one day. The next day, the boss fires Mary, but not John. If the reason that Mary was fired is because she is female, that is disparate treatment due to gender or sex, and her firing is illegal; however, if the reason is because Mary had a worse attendance record than John, then the employer’s action may be justified and legal.
Keep in mind that at some point we all work for a boss that is simply unpleasant or “difficult to deal with.” Being an unpleasant boss is not illegal; however if the actions or treatment are tied to the fact the boss or employer is acting against the employee in some part due to his/her race, sex, or some other legally protected status or activity, then a claim may exist. Finally, success in a case always depends on the specific facts of the case and the persons involved.
What Laws Protect Employees or Others from Employment Discrimination?
Federal, state (e.g. Maryland employment discrimination laws, Virginia employment discrimination laws, Washington DC employment discrimination laws) and local laws protect persons from employment discrimination. The federal law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It protects employees from discrimination based on their sex, race, color, religion or national origin. Discrimination can occur in anything from hiring and promotions to distribution of benefits such as training, vacation, or the ability to work overtime. Title VII also protects employees from sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about discrimination.
Title VII applies to private employers who have fifteen or more employees. It also applies to governmental agencies, employment agencies and labor unions. Over the years several other key laws have been passed in order to protect other groups of persons from discrimination not originally addressed by Title VII.
Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination and Employment Act of 1967 (the ADEA). The Act protects individuals age forty (40) and above from discrimination on the basis of their age. Requires employer have twenty or more employees.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals who have a disability and may require that an employer provide a reasonable accommodation to employees who are qualified to perform a job, but due to disability are not able. Like Title VII, the ADA applies to employers who have fifteen or more employees. Read more about disability discrimination.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) operates to prevent employers from discriminating on the basis of sex in paying wages. When men and women are doing the same or equal work on jobs of the same level of skill, effort, responsibility, under similar working conditions, they are to be compensated in the same manner and amount.
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) allows employees to have time off and keep their job for a period of up to 12 weeks in order to tend to a personal or family emergency, or the birth of a child, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits an employer from treating a woman differently because of her pregnancy or conditions associated with childbirth.
Other Federal Laws Prohibiting Discrimination in Employment
- Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government
- Civil Rights Act of 1991- provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination
- Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping and child labor standards
- Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) provides that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will set standards and conduct workplace inspections to ensure that employers are complying with the standards and providing a safe and healthful workplace
Where Do I Go When I Have Been Discriminated Against?
The Federal agency that resolves employment discrimination claims and serves as the spokesman in the arena of employment discrimination is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC.
State and local governments also have agencies which handle employment discrimination complaints.
If you need the help of an experienced employment discrimination lawyer, personal injury or insurance attorney in Maryland, Washington DC or Northern Virginia, please contact the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC in Rockville, Maryland