No workplace should contain harassment or discrimination. However, it still can and does happen. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees you that your employer isn’t allowed to harass you. They are also not allowed to discriminate based on any factor, such as religion, nationality, sex (now including sexual orientation), race, sex, or color. Certain areas have also established additional guidelines. It is useful for employees working in Northern Virginia to also be aware of Employment Discrimination Laws in Northern Virginia.
Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace
Additional workplace legal protections have been created by congress since the Civil Rights Act. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals from being a target of discrimination as a result of a disability. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act aims to protect individuals 40 and older from facing discrimination based on their age.
From this decade, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 is designed to prevent people from facing discrimination on health insurance or employment as a result of their genetic information. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act extended women’s rights to pursue claims in order to receive compensation from gender based discrimination at work.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the other laws mentioned are subject to two important limitations of claims:
a) Employee Pool
These employment laws are only valid for employers who have 15 or more employees and cover employment for non-profits, the federal, state and local governments, the private sector, and some other organizational structures.
Harassment and discrimination claims must be reported within 180 calendar days to the authorities. You’ll want to consult an employment lawyer in Alexandria, VA as soon as you want to move forward with a claim so that the statute of limitations does not expire while you seek legal solutions.
Your Legal Protections
Workplace discrimination laws are designed to protect you from adverse employment actions based on the previously mentioned discriminatory factors.
Adverse employment actions could be refusals to promote, extremely unfair performance reviews, refusals to hire, suspensions, demotions, and other actions where it could be argued that an employee was treated in with harassment or discrimination. Even if you made an attempt to help a coworker following discrimination against them, you are also covered by the above legal protections.
Damages and Remedies
To make more sense of the legal options available to you to pursue and the remedies you may be due, consult with The Brown Firm to effectively get things moving forward.
1. Back Pay
Back pay is the most common form of legal relief individuals receive after facing discrimination. Back pay is the amount of lost income suffered as a result of an adverse employment action such as a wrongful termination.
An adverse action such as not promoting an employee because of a discriminating factor could include restitution of difference between your current pay level and what the raise would have afforded you. The court could even consider compensating you for bonuses and other non-wage compensation benefits you missed out on that were otherwise entitled to you.
2) Front Pay
Front pay is what’s known as an equitable remedy and is part of the “make whole” relief that victims of employment discrimination can receive. This “make whole” relief is all of the necessary actions that would make the victim ‘whole’ for the suffered discrimination.
Front pay attempts to place an individual as close as can be to the situation they would have maintained if it weren’t for a discriminatory adverse employment action. The courts can order your reinstatement if you lost your job, but until your reinstatement, front pay can also cover what you normally would have been compensated if you held your job the whole time.
3) Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are designed to reform or deter an employer from continuing an action which caused the basis of the lawsuit against them. You can receive punitive damages if you employer is found guilty of violating an employment law with ‘egregious’ indifference to your rights in hopes they do not repeat their mistake.
- You may have access to other types of relief, not limited to relief for emotional distress, medical expenses, or compensatory damages.
- Your attorney’s fees could also be compensated by your employer as a part of the relief deal or settlement you have reached if your case goes to trial.
Contact The Brown Firm PLLC for a Free Consultation!
The Brown Firm PLLC’s employment lawyers serving Alexandria, VA can litigate all manner of employment law. We have experience successfully representing clients in all manners of employment disputes in local, state, and federal courts. For more information on how an employment lawyer can help you protect and enforce your rights or help you file a claim, please call or send us a message us online today and set up a legal consultation free of charge.