What Types Of Employment Law Cases Do You Handle?
Employment law covers just about anything that would come up in the context of the employer/employee relationship, but my specific area of expertise within employment law has to do with discrimination and wrongful termination. I take cases that involve someone who was illegally discriminated against, which usually means that they were treated differently on the basis of their race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability status or age. Those are the seven categories under federal and state law in Arizona where it is illegal to discriminate against someone in the context of employment. Most often, my cases deal with someone who was terminated as opposed to someone who was dealing with ongoing discrimination during their employment. Once someone has been terminated, they often realize that there may have been an element of discrimination involved.
Under What Circumstances Can I Bring A Discrimination Claim Against An Employer?
There are two different deadlines for bringing a discrimination claim against an employer: 180 days and 300 days. I always tell my clients to aim for filing it within 180 days of having been terminated in order to ensure that they don’t miss the deadline. The claim has to be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). There is also a state agency that shares work with the EEOC that can accept your filing, but for ease of reference I’ll just refer to filing with the EEOC.
If you don’t file before the deadline, then you lose your right to pursue the claim for wrongful termination or discrimination. If you’re talking about filing a claim against your current employer, then it becomes tricky to determine when those 180 days start to run. What it boils down to is that you have 180 days from the date that they discriminated against you or that you knew that they discriminated against you. When dealing with a current employer, you may have to look back and determine what they did. For example, they may have denied you a promotion, demoted you or disciplined you inappropriately.
In order to file a claim, there has to be some evidence that your protected characteristic (sex, religion, race, etc.) is what motivated them to take the action against you. In an ideal case, there would be very clear evidence of wrongdoing, such as an email that reads something like, “We’re demoting you because we want only men in supervisory positions, and we don’t like having women in supervisory positions.” That would certainly be very strong evidence of discriminatory intent. Most often, however, it’s a lot more subtle than that. For example, you might notice that nine out of ten supervisors are men, and that you failed to get promoted despite having been qualified. The supervisors may all know each other from having gone to the same all-male high school, or something along those lines. Inother words, there will be circumstantial evidence that will indicate that the protected characteristic was underlying their acts of discrimination.
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