If you are being accused of workplace discrimination, you are understandably distressed as this accusation can have a major negative impact on your career prospects, job security, and reputation. Read through the following handy guide to learn more about what to do when accused of discrimination at work.
What Is Workplace Discrimination?
Discrimination at work is when someone does not receive fair treatment based on a legally protected status. For example, if a person does not receive a promotion at work due to their sex, then this would be discrimination.
Another example of discrimination at work would be if someone were not hired because of their race. It is illegal for employers to discriminate in the workplace based on protected statuses only; however, not everything is protected.
For instance, if a person were not hired for a job because they were using profanity during the interview, this would not be considered discrimination under the law. Even if they were fully qualified but the hiring manager did not like the language they used, the manager is within their rights to not hire that person.
Another example would be if a person were fired from a job because the employer found out they had tattoos and this violated the employer’s dress code. The employer is within their rights to fire that person if they feel that tattooed employees impact their business’ overall success.
Discrimination law only covers legally protected statuses.
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What Are the Laws Against Discrimination in the Workplace?
Florida law protects employees from being discriminated against in the workplace based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, pregnancy, or marital status (Florida Statutes § Title XLIV, Chapter 760). There are also federal workplace discrimination laws covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that have similar protections.
These laws protect employees from unfair treatment, but they also outline employers’ and managers’ rights and responsibilities.
What Happens if I’m Accused of Workplace Discrimination?
It’s important to note that just because someone accuses you of discrimination doesn’t make it true. A lawyer can help you understand the law and your rights as well as possible outcomes of a legal dispute.
Some workplace discrimination laws get dismissed due to a lack of evidence. Others can be settled outside of court. Even if a discrimination case goes to court, it may not result in a ruling against you.
Whether you are an employer or a manager at an organization, you do have legal options following an accusation of workplace discrimination.
How Does a Lawyer Help With a Workplace Discrimination Case?
A workplace discrimination lawyer helps in several ways. They can:
- Analyze your case, carefully examining all the evidence and details, to determine whether there’s a case and determine the best course of action
- Gather evidence to support your case, which could include interviewing witnesses (e.g. other employees of the company)
- Advise you of your rights and discuss your legal options
- Help you file and handle legal paperwork and related requests
- Handle court proceedings in the event your case goes to court
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Timeline for Filing a Workplace Discrimination Suit in Florida
In addition to laws that regulate discrimination at work, there are also rules that set forth timelines for filing such a discrimination suit. In general, an employee has 180 days to file a discrimination case. In some situations, the timeline can be extended up to 300 days (EEOC).
What this means is if you have been accused of workplace discrimination but the employee waited too long to file, they may not have a case against you. Talking to a lawyer can clear up questions such as whether an employee filed within the time frame.
How a Workplace Discrimination Case Can Impact You
If you are an employer found in violation of an employee’s civil rights, this can negatively impact your business in several ways:
Workplace discrimination cases can harm your business reputation, making it difficult to hire employees, damaging your relationships with other business partners, and diminishing your brand.
The results of losing a discrimination case can cost an employer financially through court fees, settlement costs, or damages. You could also deal with indirect financial ramifications as others avoid your business due to, as mentioned above, your damaged reputation.
If you are a manager, as opposed to a business owner, accused of discrimination, your life could be negatively impacted in the following ways.
You could lose your job as a result of a successful discrimination accusation. You may also find it difficult to get work at other companies.
Integrity & Reputation
How others view you could be colored if you lose a workplace discrimination case. This poor reputation could impact your career and life happiness.
You may be required to pay damages or lose your job should you be found to have discriminated against someone at work. This can negatively impact your income and financial security.
Get Legal Help After Being Accused of Discrimination at Work
Legal guidance is available after being accused of discrimination at work. All you have to do is reach out to Bogin, Munns & Munns for a case consultation. Get peace of mind from having your legal questions answered. You are not alone. Let us help you today.