Are You Being Discriminated Against at Work?
If you suspect you have been discriminated against at work, you may be able to file a claim against your employer and receive monetary damages. At Jackson Spencer Law, our experienced employment discrimination attorneys have decades of experience representing — and achieving substantial settlements and verdicts for — those who have been treated unfairly by their employers. If you believe you have such a claim, please contact us for a free consultation.
Not all unfair treatment by your employer is considered illegal discrimination under the law, however. Certain groups of people, and certain actions by employees, are protected.
1. Are you a member of a protected group?
If you have a “protected status,” you might have a case. This includes being discriminated against at work in one of these ways:
- age discrimination
- race discrimination
- religious discrimination
- national origin discrimination
- pregnancy discrimination
- disability discrimination
- gender discrimination
- sex discrimination, including individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ or are perceived by their employer to be LGBTQ+.
- military discrimination (veterans, reserves, and active duty)
2. Did your employer retaliate against you for taking a lawful action?
You might have a case for retaliation if you:
- Took time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act
- Filed a Worker’s Compensation claim
- “Blew the whistle” by reporting something illegal you knew about or saw happening
- Refused to do something illegal that you were asked to do by a boss or co-worker
- Complained to your employer about discrimination, even if you weren’t the person being discriminated against
- Reported your boss for discriminatory or illegal activity
If you fit either of these two categories, you may have a valid claim against your employer.
Steps you can take right now against employment discrimination
If you are being treated unlawfully in the workplace, there are several important steps you can take:
- Report the conduct. It is particularly important that you report the unlawful conduct to the appropriate persons (usually a supervisor, manager or human resources). Your employer must know or have reason to know about the unlawful treatment in order to be legally responsible for a co-worker or customer’s conduct.
- Keep records. As soon as you experience discrimination, start writing down exactly what happened in a notebook that you keep at home. Write down the dates, places, times, witnesses and what happened. Keep copies of your performance evaluations and any emails or letters documenting the quality of your work.
- Contact an experienced employee rights attorney. It is better to contact a seasoned attorney sooner rather than later. If our firm is retained early enough, we may be able to convince your employer to intervene on your behalf. We can also help you identify if you have an actionable claim and pursue justice on your behalf.
Many cases require a complaint to be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division before a lawsuit can be filed. Although it is legally permissible to make such a filing without an attorney, we strongly recommend retaining an experienced employment discrimination attorney before doing so, because any errors or omissions in your report can cause your claim to be dismissed, and an attorney will not be able to fix or amend the report.
What kind of discrimination can you sue for? Learn more:
Federal law and many state laws prohibit most employers from discriminating against job applicants and employees on the basis of age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) protects people age 40 and older from age-based discrimination. Age discrimination can occur in hiring, training, benefits, compensation, promotion, firing, and layoffs. To review some of our results representing employees for age discrimination, click here: Read more
Here are examples of age discrimination:
Employers who terminate older workers under the guise of false beliefs — like the idea that older workers are slower, make more mistakes, cannot keep up with technology or aren’t as productive
Firing someone and replacing them with someone significantly younger without any justification
Eliminating the job of an older worker while keeping the jobs of younger workers who do substantially identical duties
Having a training program that has age limitations
A benefit program that offers better benefits to younger workers or that excludes older workers
If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your age, please submit your case for review by our age discrimination lawyers.
Of particular interest is your age, the age of the person who terminated you or discriminated against you, and the age(s) of people who were treated more favorably than you (such as the person who replaced you).
Remember: an employer is not permitted to retaliate against an employee for complaining about age discrimination or for filing a complaint of age discrimination with the EEOC or a state agency or for participating in an investigation or for filing an age discrimination lawsuit under the ADEA.
Under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act an amendment to the ADEA, if two or more employees over age 40 are laid off, they must be given 45 days to consider severance agreements offered by their employer and seven days to revoke their acceptance after signing if they change their minds.
If only one employee over the age of 40 is laid off, he or she must be given 21 days to consider a severance offer. Certain employers are required by the OWBPA to provide the laid-off older workers with information such as the ages of the employees who were laid off and the ages of those who were not laid off.
There are time limitations on the ability to bring a claim for age discrimination. Federal workers must generally make a complaint with the EEO within 45 days. Other workers often have 180 days to make a claim with a state agency charged with enforcing state employment laws, or up to 300 days to make a complaint to the EEOC.
Know your rights
The attorneys at Jackson Spencer Law are experienced in all aspects of representing employees in age discrimination matters: negotiating a fair settlement with your employer; representing clients before the EEOC and state agencies; and in litigating age claims in courts across the United States and in arbitrations. To have your case reviewed, call or text us at 972-301-2937 or fill out a case detail form on this website.
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) prohibits:
- Discrimination “against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.”
- Discrimination against employees and applicants who have a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, have a record of such an impairment, or are regarded as having such an impairment.”
- Failure to provide reasonable accommodations for a qualified employee or applicant with a disability, such as providing handicap accessible facilities, modifying work schedules, or providing modified equipment or interpreters.
What Kinds of Disability Discrimination Are there?Read more
- Discrimination often occurs during the hiring process. Were you asked questions about a medical condition, your worker’s compensation history or whether you are currently taking prescription drugs? These kinds of questions likely violate the law. Is your disability visibly obvious? Did you get the job? If not, contact us. We may be able to help.
- Harassment – Have you faced a hostile work environment because of your disability or because your employer perceives you are disabled? Harassment can occur via threats or undesirable assignments. If you believe you have suffered unlawful harassment, please contact us to discuss your circumstances.
- Reasonable Accommodation – If you have a qualified disability, you are entitled to request a reasonable accommodation that assists you in performing the essential functions of your job or in accessing the workplace. It is your duty to request this, and then your employer must engage in an interactive dialogue to determine an appropriate accommodation. Your employer can offer alternative accommodations as long as they are reasonable and accomplish the goal. If your employer takes negative action against you because you asked for an accommodation or because the employer had to provide it, then you may have a retaliation claim. If your employer refuses to even discuss a reasonable accommodation, you may have a claim as well.
- Retaliation – Has your employer retaliated against you for requesting an accommodation or for advising management of a claim for disability discrimination? If so, you may have a claim against your employer. You have the right to request a reasonable accommodation and to report unlawful discrimination.
What Can You Do About Disability Discrimination?
The law essentially attempts to make a victim of disability discrimination whole again. These remedies can range from requiring the employer to hire you, promote you, or pay lost wages while you look for a new job.
The attorneys at Jackson Spencer law are very experienced in all aspects of representing employees in disability discrimination matters: negotiating a fair settlement with your employer; representing clients before the EEOC and state agencies; and in litigating disability claims in courts across the United States and in arbitrations. To have your case reviewed, call or text us at 972-301-2937 or fill out a case submission form on this website.
Gender discrimination all comes down to unequal treatment on the basis of sex. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it’s illegal for an employer to refuse to hire or to fire any individual based on gender. This law applies equally to males and females. You do not have to be female to be protected by discrimination law.Read more
Were you selected for layoff or termination when others in the same position but of a different gender were not? If you had better experience, longer tenure at the company or a better performance record, you should talk to us about whether you have a claim.
Other ways in which employers may commit gender discrimination include:
- Having an “old boys’ club” mentality that promotes men over women
- Paying men more than women when they are equally qualified and doing the same work
- Promoting gender-based stereotypes about how men or women should act
- Discriminating against women who are pregnant, taking maternity leave or raising children
Some of the laws that protect employees from gender discrimination include:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act contains broad prohibitions against gender-based discrimination
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires that an employer pay men and women the same for substantially equal work
- The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 ensures that “victims of longstanding discrimination” do not lose their right to sue because they were unaware of the discrimination
- The Texas Commission on Human Rights Act contains similar prohibitions of discrimination in Texas law to those contained in Title VII
An employer may not retaliate against an employee for opposing gender discrimination, for filing a complaint with the EEOC or a state agency or for participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding or lawsuit under Title VII.
- Have you faced racial harassment or discrimination at work?
- Were you selected for layoff or had your position eliminated when others of a different race doing the same or a similar job remained employed?
- Have you been passed over for promotion despite being more qualified than others of a different race?
- Were you treated differently at your job – or in a job interview because of your skin color?
- Have you been treated differently at your job and have evidence that it’s because your spouse or significant other is of a different race?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants on the basis of race. 42 USC Section 1981 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race with respect to the making and enforcing of contracts, which includes prohibiting the making, enforcing, modifying and terminating of employment on the basis of race.
The law forbids employment decisions that are driven by stereotypes or assumptions regarding race, color or national origin.
Our attorneys are very experienced in representing employees in Title VII and Section 1981 proceedings. Whether the discrimination is blatant or more subtle, we can help.
Click here to view some of our recent results representing employees in racial discrimination claims.
Examples of race discrimination:
- Assigning favorable job duties to employees of one race over employees of other races
- Offering training only to employees of a particular race
- Promoting an employee of one race with far less experience than an employee of a different race with more experience
- Segregation, such as assigning African American salespeople to predominantly “black” neighborhoods
An employer is also prohibited from retaliating against an employee who opposes race discrimination. An employer is prohibited from retaliating against an employee who files a complaint with the EEOC or state agency or participates in a lawsuit, administrative proceeding or investigation.
Our employment attorneys represent employees or job applicants in race discrimination claims. If you are a victim of race discrimination in the workplace, please submit your case for review by phone or by filling out the contact form on this website. Remember: Time limits apply to claims of race discrimination.
Workplace discrimination due to national origin is against the law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as many state laws make it illegal to treat employees less favorably on the basis of national origin.
National origin includes:
- Linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group.
This prohibition also protects an employee from being treated adversely because he or she is married to or associated with persons of a national origin group, attends or participates in schools, churches, temples or mosques generally associated with a national origin group, or has a surname associated with a national origin group.
Title VII generally applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Even if your workplace employs fewer than 15 employees, it may be considered a covered employer under Title VII if it has acted jointly with a parent or subsidiary corporation and together employs more than 15.
Many states and localities also have laws prohibiting the unfavorable treatment of an employee because of national origin. Many such states mirror Title VII but others may be broader.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) allows qualified employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid family, parental and medical leave without penalty or the threat of bring fired or laid off. Maternity leave is also covered under the FMLA.Read more
Who Qualifies for Family and Medical Leave?
The FMLA covers all employers who have 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius of where the employee works. To be eligible, you must have worked for your employer for 12 months. To determine if you are eligible, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you worked at least 1,250 hours for at least 12 months?
- Does your employer have at least 50 full-time or part-time employees within a 75 mile radius of where you work?
For the most part, covered employers must permit family, parental or medical leave if one or more of the following situations exist:
- The employee is unable to work due to a serious medical condition
- The employee must provide care to a child who suffers a serious medical condition
- The employee must provide care for an adult child who suffers a serious medical condition if the parent is the legal guardian
- The employee must provide care to his or her parent if the employee is a guardian of the parent
- The employee must give birth to or care for a newborn
- The employee is engaged in the care of an adopted or foster care child under age 3
- The employee is engaged in the care of a spouse (although some states exclude same-sex spouses)
An employer is not required to pay you for FMLA leave, although some do. A qualifying employee can take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a year. Leave does not have to be continuous — it can be taken “intermittently” rather than in full-day blocks of time.
We Fight For Employee FMLA Rights
If you are entitled to leave, but your employer does not allow you to take leave or does not reinstate you to an identical position after your leave, contact us by calling 972-301-2937 or fill out a case detail form on this website. If you are retaliated against for taking FMLA leave such as by being terminated while you are on leave or shortly after you return, we would like to discuss you matter with you.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as many state laws, prohibit an employer from discriminating against an employee because of religion. Religion includes many aspects of religious observance, practice and belief. Additionally, Title VII, and many state laws require employers to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious practice, unless the required accommodation would pose an “undue hardship” on the employer.Read more
Religious discrimination occurs when an employee is treated unfavorably because of his or her religious belief. Whether those beliefs and practices are from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, any other faith, including personal religious beliefs, all employees are to be treated equally.
Employee Rights for Religious Freedom
Employers of more than 15 employees must reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices unless doing so would cause a burden on the business operations. For example, an employer must create a flexible schedule that would allow the observance of the employee’s religion’s holy days. Another reasonable accommodation would be allowing a variance of the company dress code policy for religious head coverings or other religious attire or a religious prohibition against wearing certain garments, such as pants.
The law prohibits an employer from deliberately treating employees less favorably because of their religion. This type of unlawful treatment includes refusing to hire, refusing to provide training, denying promotions, denying equal compensation, disciplining and firing.
It’s also illegal to harass someone because of their religion. It is harassment if your employer creates a hostile work environment by making offensive remarks about your religious practices.
The law also prohibits retaliation against employees who oppose religious discrimination, such as by filing an internal complaint, a charge with the EEOC or state agency, or a lawsuit.
How We Can Help You:
We’re experienced at representing employees facing discrimination for religious beliefs and employees who have been retaliated against for reporting a claim of religious discrimination. Contact us for a free evaluation of your case by calling 972-301-2937 or by clicking here to submit a Case Review form.
Preparing for the birth of a child should be a happy time. But some employers discriminate against pregnant employees who may take time off to attend doctor’s appointments or who intend to take parental leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or other laws. Employers may demote, fail to promote, reduce the hours or pay, or terminate a pregnant employee. A highly qualified job applicant may find that she is not hired because of her pregnancy.Read more
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, employers must avoid many forms of pregnancy-based sex discrimination. This law applies to businesses with 15 or more employees and most state and federal agencies. “Uniformed members of the military” is a key exception.
The law prohibits on-the-job harassment and adverse employment actions such as demotions, layoffs, wrongful termination, or reductions in pay. A woman who is pregnant must receive the same treatment as employee with other medical conditions. If you experience any medical condition or illness related to your pregnancy, you may also be entitled to disability protections.
Job-Protected Medical Leave
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Law, employees are entitled to a certain amount of job-protected medical leave. This means that as long as you qualify, your employer is required to re-employ you in your original position or a comparable position when you return to work after maternity leave.
If you experience any medical conditions or illness related to your pregnancy, you may also be entitled to disability protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Contact Us Today
The workplace discrimination lawyers at Jackson Spencer Law have handled many pregnancy discrimination cases as well as other forms of gender discrimination.
If you are experiencing, or have experienced, discrimination because of your pregnancy, contact us for a free evaluation of your case with no further obligation by calling 972-301-2937 or by clicking here to submit a Case Review form.
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Fighting for Employees in Texas
Experienced. Knowledgable. Caring.
The attorneys at Jackson Spencer Law are here for you. We know the law — and we know the rights and protections that employers owe to their workers. Whether it’s negotiating a severance package or a settlement with an employer, navigating the complexities of a whistleblower case, or taking a discrimination lawsuit to court — let our Texas legal team go to work for you.
An experienced trial lawyer and CPA known for her aggressive, organized, and highly effective litigation style, Jennifer Spencer is a champion for the rights of those who have been wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, sexually harassed, terminated after whistleblowing, passed over for promotions or otherwise wrongfully treated in the workplace.
Neal Bridges approaches every employment matter with the understanding that he’s not only delivering justice for his clients, but also peace of mind and hope for the future. He is experienced in a wide array of employment law situations, from negotiating severance agreements to representing clients in litigation over wrongful termination, workplace discrimination, or retaliation.
James Hunnicutt’s entire professional history has been focused on advocating for those who have been taken advantage of and treated unfairly. He draws on his background as a consumer protection lawyer to advocate for employees who have been treated unfairly in the workplace, and he works aggressively and thoroughly to vindicate employees’ rights.
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The employment attorneys at Dallas-based Jackson Spencer Law have in-depth experience in representing employees who are in disputes with their employers. How can we help you?