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Discrimination In The Workplace

Massachusetts has laws in place against discrimination on the job.  An employer cannot violate discrimination laws when hiring to fill a position, when firing, or when determining your pay or the conditions or privileges of your employment. With a discrimination lawyer at work for you, an employer will be held accountable. An employer must not discriminate against you because of age (being over 40), race, national origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, or genetic or medical information. An employee rights attorney in Massachusetts should be consulted when an employee is being discriminated against at work.

Employer Discrimination And COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic compelled many business owners to rethink their operations and make adjustments to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. But for some business owners, the pandemic created the perfect storm for discrimination at work.

Schedule Free Consultation with Employment Discrimination Lawyer Meeting locations in in Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield, Wilbraham & Worcester

Employment Discrimination Law

Massachusetts has laws in place against discrimination on the job.  An employer cannot violate discrimination laws when hiring to fill a position, when firing, or when determining your pay or the conditions or privileges of your employment. With a discrimination lawyer at work for you, an employer will be held accountable. An employer must not discriminate against you because of age (being over 40), race, national origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, or genetic or medical information. An employee rights attorney in Massachusetts should be consulted when an employee is being discriminated against at work.

Employer Discrimination And COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic compelled many business owners to rethink their operations and make adjustments to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. But for some business owners, the pandemic created the perfect storm for discrimination at work.

Schedule Free Consultation with Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Meeting locations in in Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield, Wilbraham & Worcester

Types Of Discrimination

Switching from in-person to remote work can be a nightmare for parents with young children at home. Attending video conferences and meetings while caring for young children is nearly impossible.

In other cases, employees with preexisting health conditions have faced medical discrimination from their employers. For example, employees with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19. But they are still expected to work and perform their duties as if nothing has changed, putting their safety and the community at risk.

For many employers, the COVID-19 pandemic has created multiple unique challenges. For example, suppose remote work is mandatory or too difficult for certain employees. In that case, they could claim ageism in the workplace, pregnancy discrimination, religious discrimination, disability discrimination, mental health discrimination, FMLA discrimination, medical discrimination, and gender discrimination in the workplace because the employer refused to accommodate special needs to work remotely or in-person.

Schedule Free Consultation with Workplace Discrimination Lawyer
Meeting locations in in Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield, Wilbraham & Worcester

Job Discrimination Examples

Many examples of workplace discrimination have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic. One common form of discrimination is when an employer lays off a group of employees but keeps another group with similar qualifications.

For example, an employer could lay off all employees over 40 but keep all employees under 40. In this scenario, the employer could be facing age discrimination claims.

Another example of possible job discrimination is if an employer requires employees to come to work but does not provide a safe and sanitary workplace or additional safety gear or other measures to protect against COVID-19.

Another pattern of harassment or discrimination is if an employer singles out employees of a specific religion or national origin for COVID-19 testing or other special treatment because they believe these employees are more likely to have the virus. Again, this could be religious discrimination or national origin discrimination.

Discriminatory hiring practices could also increase during the pandemic. For example, an employer may only hire employees willing to work long hours for little pay and no benefits. Or, an employer may only hire employees under the age of 30.

Employees should always try to document any discrimination they face in the workplace. Records of reports, emails, and other documentation to prove discrimination can make or break a case later.

With the many changes in our society, employees and business owners alike need to learn more about their new legal rights and responsibilities regarding COVID-19. This learning curve includes being aware of hiring discrimination, gender bias in the workplace, inappropriate behavior at work, and unlawful discrimination in all forms.

Schedule Free Consultation with Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Meeting locations in in Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield, Wilbraham & Worcester

What To Do If Facing Discrimination At Work

If you believe you have faced discrimination in the workplace, you want to protect your rights. First, document everything. Keep a journal of events, save any relevant emails or text messages, and note any changes in your work duties or hours.

Next, speak to a workplace discrimination lawyer. An experienced work discrimination lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and determine whether you have a case. If it’s determined there’s a legitimate discrimination claim, your lawyer can help you file a complaint with the EEOC or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or take other legal action.

Understanding employer discrimination and taking action can help create a safer and better workplace.

Employee Retaliation And Retaliation Lawsuits

It’s important to understand that employers cannot retaliate against employees who report or file discrimination claims. Retaliation is illegal and can result in a retaliation lawsuit.

As per the EEOC, an employer cannot fire an employee for filing a discrimination complaint. And an employer cannot demote an employee or reduce their hours in retaliation for reporting discrimination.

If you have faced retaliation at work, you should speak to a job discrimination lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help you understand your legal options and take action to protect your rights. EEOC investigations can take some time to complete, so it’s essential to start the process as soon as possible.

By understanding employer discrimination and retaliation lawsuits, you can help protect your rights in the workplace. And by taking action if you face employer discrimination or retaliation yourself, you can set an example for others and create a safer work environment for everyone.

Schedule Free Consultation with Workplace Discrimination Lawyer
Meeting locations in in Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield, Wilbraham & Worcester

Federal Discrimination Laws Protect In-Person And Remote Workers

While the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we work, it hasn’t changed the fact that employment discrimination is illegal.

Whether working in person at the office or at home, federal discrimination laws protect employees.

Unfair treatment in the workplace, such as hiring discrimination, wage discrimination, employment bias, and more, can create a hostile work environment and jeopardize your rights as an employee. Reporting discrimination in the workplace is a brave and vital step, especially if you’re worried about retaliation.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses and workers across the country, it’s essential to know your rights and responsibilities regarding discrimination in the workplace. An experienced workplace discrimination lawyer can help you understand these laws and take action if you suspect you are the victim of discrimination.

COVID-19 And Your Rights

If you are an aggrieved victim of discrimination or harassment at work, it’s important to remember you have rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other Federal discrimination retaliation laws prevent employers from mistreating employees.

Whether reporting discrimination or filing a lawsuit against your employer, it’s essential to seek legal representation from an experienced job discrimination lawyer. An experienced discrimination attorney can help you understand your rights, investigate your claim, and take action to protect your job and career.

Don’t wait to take action if you believe you have been the victim of workplace discrimination or harassment. The sooner you speak to a workplace discrimination attorney, the sooner they can help you protect your rights.

Schedule Free Consultation with Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Meeting locations in in Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield, Wilbraham & Worcester

Age Discrimination at Work

Age Discrimination at Work - In Massachusetts an employer must not discriminate against you because of age (being over 40)In Massachusetts, the Fair Employment Practice Act (for companies with 6 or more employees) and the federal  Age Discrimination in Employment Act (for companies with 20 or more employees) prohibits age discrimination in employment. These laws are applicable in situations involving employees who are 40 years or older.

Signs of age discrimination in the workplace can include: not being hired because the employer had a younger person in mind for that job; being passed over for a promotion to a mid-managerial position while someone younger was hired for the position for an invalid reason such as the company needing “new blood” or someone who can take the company in new directions; not being trained in newer technologies or given training that other employees at the same level get to improve job performance; not being promoted or given additional responsibilities because they feared that “at your age” you wouldn’t be able to keep up; being laid off because the company wants to keep younger employees who will work for less; being given unreasonably negative or unfair job evaluations and then being demoted or fired as a result; your company is downsizing and only the older employees are being let go; or being placed in a menial job or reducing your responsibilities because of your age.

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Meeting locations in in Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield, Wilbraham & Worcester

Sex, Pregnancy Or Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

Sex, Pregnancy Or Gender Discrimination in the WorkplaceBy law a company cannot discriminate against a person because of their gender nor can they engage in sex discrimination in employment (according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). While this law is most often seen to be for the benefit of women, there are also situations where men are discriminated against because of gender. Issues covered by this area of the law include sexual stereotyping in employment decisions, dress, grooming issues and marital status.

You have the right to equal pay for equal work. By equal work it means that if a job requires the same skill level, the same effort, the same responsibility and is performed under similar conditions, then those jobs are generally the same and should be compensated equally regardless of gender. What constitutes “equal” or “the same” requires an analysis of the facts related to the work and does not by definition mean identical.

Disability Discrimination at Work

Under Massachusetts and federal laws, an employer cannot discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability on the basis of that disability. To be a qualified individual with a disability, you should be able to safely perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. “Reasonable accommodations” might include altering the floor plan or workstations, modifying equipment, adding ramps, or other accommodations that would enhance your performance or allow you to do the job more easily.

Generally, an employer must provide reasonable accommodation to a disabled employee unless doing so would cause undue economic hardship on the employer.

A disabled person is generally described as a person who has a physical or mental impairment or condition that substantially limits one or more of his or her life activities. The definition may include people who have a record of the impairment or who are regarded to have the impairment.

Schedule Free Consultation with Employment Discrimination Lawyer
Meeting locations in in Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield, Wilbraham & Worcester

Race Discrimination at Work & Religious Discrimination in Employment

Discrimination Based On Race, Color, Ethnicity Or ReligionUnder federal law, an employer must not discriminate based on color, race, religion, or national origin (according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). As stated earlier, recognizing and proving discrimination can be difficult. Discrimination can also involve abuse in the form of a hostile work environment created through the use of ethnic or racial jokes, demeaning name calling, intimidation, or demanding you do humiliating work or suffer humiliation at the hands of fellow employees with or without the consent of the employer. If you are forced to leave a job because of intolerable conditions, such as these, you may have the right to file a claim based upon discrimination in employment. If you feel you are being discriminated against, see your employment lawyer as soon as possible.

Whistle Blower Protection

If you blow the whistle on your company, exposing illegal activities such as accounting fraud, false claims or contractor bids with government projects and are fired or experience HR discrimination as a result, you may want to act quickly and file a claim. More on employer retaliation.

Employer Retaliation

Some employers feel wronged when an employee files a claim against them or insists on their rights in a dispute. In some cases, an employer will attempt to “get even” through retaliatory acts against the employee. You have the right to insist that your rights or those of a fellow employee are observed and protected. As long as you are not attempting to foster disobedience, rejecting legitimate work or encouraging others to do the same, you have a number of “protected activities”. For example, you can testify on behalf of coworkers in discrimination law actions, you can file a discrimination suit, you can inform the employer that you will file a claim to encourage compliance, you can file a worker’s compensation claim and you can even take part in whistle blowing activities and expect your job to be protected. In situations such as these, employer retaliation can be quite obvious. You should speak to a lawyer on this and do it soon if you feel you have a legitimate claim. The key here is that an employer cannot punish you for insisting on your legal and protected rights. More on employer retaliation.

Schedule Free Consultation with Workplace Discrimination Lawyer
Meeting locations in in Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield, Wilbraham & Worcester

Pregnancy Discrimination at Work

Ensuring women equality in the workplace is the responsibility of the employer, and pregnancy discrimination in employment can be actionable. Discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy is a type of sex discrimination at work under both Massachusetts law and federal law. An employer cannot fire, demote or apply rules to a pregnant person that are not applied equally to other employees. The employer must uphold gender equality in the workplace and restore the employee to her previous position – the one held prior to any temporary changes made to accommodate her pregnancy – or to place her in an equal position with the same status, pay, length of service credit and seniority as the previous position. “Hardship” is not an argument an employer can use to avoid this responsibility. This leave is also allowed in addition to earned vacation time and accumulated sick days. You may be entitled to accommodations for your pregnancy conditions.

Consult Law Office of Michael O. Shea, P.C., discrimination lawyer in employment cases throughout Massachusetts, for a free consultation when you need an attorney for job discrimination.

(617) 350-9969
Boston, MA
(413) 733-1955
Springfield, MA
(413) 596-8005
Wilbraham, MA
(508) 753-9350
Worcester, MA
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