Discrimination / Harassment
Federal and state laws protect employees from discrimination and from harassment (when that discrimination/ harassment is for an illegal reason, such as due to age, disability, pregnancy, race, sex).
A more detailed description of this is found at the EEOC’s website, at www.eeoc.gov/laws/practices/index.cfm. Additionally, if you look at the individual items listed in the Practice Areas toolbar to the left this is also addressed in detail.
The rationale behind these anti-discrimination laws is that employees should be judged on the merits, and not based on prejudices or on factors outside of their control (such as age, race, sex, etc.)
That said, it should be noted that not all “discrimination” or “harassment” is illegal, but rather for it to be illegal it must fall under a “covered” or “protected” category (such as the items to the left in the Practice Areas toolbar). For example, if an Employer is discriminating against/ harassing an employee because of a personality conflict, or discriminates due to a preference for a family member then that would not be a protected reason. But, by contrast, if an Employer took into account an employee’s age or race in taking an adverse employment action (discipline, termination, etc.) against that employee, then that very well may be illegal under the anti-employment discrimination laws.
To determine whether your situation falls under the protection of the various anti-discrimination laws requires a fact specific inquiry that I have done many times. Moreover, because I am familiar with the anti-discrimination laws, I can frequently assist my employee clients (during their employment as well as afterward) in protecting their rights, making their complaints more effective, and giving them further strength, security, and options.
It should also be noted that at all times it is the burden of the employee to prove illegal discrimination/harassment. This burden can be met in various different ways, and through various different forms of evidence (documents, witnesses). Due to my years of experience, and my strong interest in this area of the law, I am very adept in assessing the situations of my clients, as well as in putting your situation/ case in a strong light toward achieving a positive outcome.
Depending on the circumstances, a mere consultation with me can make a positive difference in your employment situation (sometimes being the difference between you being disciplined/terminated and that not occurring), which understandably can likewise make a big impact on your income as well as your peace of mind. Other times, our pursuing severance and/or litigation may be the way to go.
If you believe that you may have been subjected to illegal discrimination/harassment, or if you are concerned that you may in the future be subjected to this (e.g. – that the Employer is attempting to mount a paper trail against you, or gearing up to take action against you), then call me to briefly discuss if it makes sense for you to come in for an appointment to my Chicago loop office to further discuss your employment situation.