Detroit Employment Discrimination Lawyers
Employment discrimination claims are often the most difficult, factually complex, and emotionally charged cases, but that does not dissuade our skilled employment attorneys. If you have been the victim of discrimination on the job or are being accused of discrimination in your workplace, call Sommers Schwartz – we are ready to step up to the plate and fight on your behalf.
Different Types of Workplace Discrimination
By law, an employer may not take an “adverse action” against an employee or potential employee based on any of the following factors:
- Sexual Orientation
- National Origin
- Disability or Genetic Information
- Leave Under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Arrest Record
Federal laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), along with state laws such as Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and other legislation, govern employment discrimination claims.
Workplace discrimination cases are complex, and the laws protecting workers are constantly evolving. Our experienced attorneys have represented numerous employees in pursuing and maximizing their claims and know the most up-to-date legislative protections.
Employment Discrimination Takes Many Forms
Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee or potential employee based on their race, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, disability, pregnancy, arrest record, or taking time off under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Adverse employment actions include:
- Refusing employment.
- Terminating employment without just cause.
- Demoting or lowering wages.
- Transferring to a less desirable workplace, schedule, or duties.
- Paying less money for equal work.
- Treating less favorably.
- Disciplining without cause.
- Passing over for promotion.
- Denying representation in a dispute.
Besides these forms of direct discrimination, the law also prohibits retaliating against an individual for filing a discrimination complaint within the company or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It also protects individuals who participate in an investigation of another person’s discrimination complaint.
A more subtle form of employment discrimination is called disparate impact discrimination. This is when an employer has a rule, test, or another standard that appears objective on the surface but disproportionately affects a particular group. For example, a mandated test or employment condition that appears “facially neutral” but effectively screens out a minority group or women would be discriminatory unless the employer can show it is a bona fide occupational qualification for the job.
Damages in an Employment Discrimination Case
Successful claimants for employment discrimination can be entitled to reinstatement and financial compensation as well as other forms of restitution. Potential damages include:
- Reinstatement to the rightful employment position.
- Promotion, if appropriate.
- Lost wages.
- Lost benefits.
- Legal fees (attorney’s fees and court costs).
- Emotional distress.
- Injunctive relief against the employer (penalties to help prevent future incidents of discrimination).
Filing a Complaint
To begin pursuing compensation, a workplace discrimination victim must file a formal complaint with the EEOC, which is the federal organization that enforces anti-discrimination laws. The complaint must be properly filed within 300 days of a specific incident of discrimination or recognition of the discrimination (when there are multiple incidents). It must comply with EEOC guidelines and processes. Although you do not need an attorney to represent you, experienced counsel can help ensure you complete this process correctly and in a timely manner.
There are also state organizations that handle discrimination claims. They have strict time limits and filing requirements. In Michigan, the agency that investigates these claims is the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). Employees have only 180 days to file a complaint with the MDCR, so it is important not to wait to act.
The EEOC and appropriate state organizations will investigate if a claimant’s case is actionable or if there might be a solution at the employer level. Sometimes the EEOC will file a civil lawsuit on behalf of the claimant; other times, it will issue a right-to-sue letter, permitting them to pursue a lawsuit on their own.
How an Employment Discrimination Attorney Can Help
An employment discrimination attorney can help you gather evidence to support your case and submit the appropriate claims to the EEOC and MDCR. They may be able to file the complaint on your behalf to the EEOC if you wish to remain anonymous.
An attorney will also guide you through the legal process if it is necessary to go to court. A lawsuit can be stressful and overwhelming. Many people benefit from the experience and knowledge an attorney provides. An attorney’s representation can be especially beneficial in discrimination cases because they involve making a claim against an employer. This can be very intimidating and emotional. Communicating through an attorney often makes the process more comfortable.
We Represent Both Employees and Employers, a Testament to Our Skills
Sommers Schwartz’s employment lawyers routinely represent employees in claims of unlawful discrimination and retaliation. We also routinely counsel employers on discipline and termination decisions and represent them in court and administrative proceedings (before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other state and federal agencies).
We understand the intricacies of employment law and discrimination cases from both sides of the aisle. We regularly represent both employees and employers, a testament to our broad base of knowledge and ability.
Contact Sommers Schwartz Employment Discrimination Attorneys
If your employer has violated your rights and discriminated against you, the law provides powerful remedies to help you recover. Besides getting your rightful job back, you can also recover financial damages. The Detroit employment discrimination attorneys of Sommers Schwartz can help.
We fight tirelessly for the rights of Michigan workers. We are prepared to stand up for you if you have been treated unfairly or faced discrimination in the workplace. We will hold your employer accountable.
Contact a Sommers Schwartz attorney today to confidentially discuss your case and learn how we can help. A Sommers Schwartz attorney will investigate your claim, gather evidence, and craft a strong case in your defense. Call us at (800) 783-0989 for a free consultation.