Workplace Discrimination in Juneau, AK

Workplace discrimination cases can get sticky and uncomfortable in a hurry. Even worse, the state commission tasked with investigating these incidents faces its own lawsuit for discrimination.

This area of litigation can put employers and employees in Juneau on their heels. Moreover, people will start to pick sides once the subpoenas and depositions start. As a result of this messy dynamic, many companies will want to settle to avoid further legal wrangling. You can discover if you have enough leverage for this process through the details of state and federal law below.

What Is Workplace Discrimination?

Discrimination in the workplace deals with unfair treatment. These laws deal with unfair treatment based on race, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, physical qualities, or age. Workplace discrimination can occur between employees. Furthermore, it can be between employers and their existing or prospective employees.

Juneau, Alaska labor laws make some types of workplace discrimination illegal. If illegal discrimination occurs, workers may be able to file a workplace discrimination lawsuit. A worker does not need to currently have employment from a company to face qualifying acts of discrimination. For instance, say the company chose not to hire someone. If it’s because of a qualifying characteristic, the individual may be able to file a claim.

Here are some of the most common types of discrimination that occur in the Juneau, AK work environment:

  • Choosing not to hire someone because of their disability
  • Choosing not to promote someone because of their race
  • Excluding someone from a project because management says they’re too old
  • Making misogynistic comments about women
  • Deliberately paying men more than women because the boss values their work more

Should You File a Complaint With the HR Department or the EEOC?

Most companies have a human resources department in Juneau, AK. Discrimination in the workplace falls within their portfolio. Therefore, raising concerns with HR may include a written report, an interview, and an investigation.

Sometimes a company does not have a human resources department, and there are no policies. To resolve the issue, you might take your concerns directly to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They can assist you in investigating the claim and possibly filing a lawsuit.

The EEOC also provides a counselor to help you decide how to proceed. However, this assistance is only available if you contact them within 45 days of the alleged incident. Once they conclude their investigation into your claims in Juneau, they will send a letter with two options. You can request a hearing with an administrative judge or ask them to render a decision.

What Laws Protect Against Discrimination in the Workplace?

There are federal workplace discrimination laws that help to protect employees. On this level, Juneau employees have protections from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, many states have even stronger laws that offer additional protections.

Let’s use an example. California is the first state where ethnic hair and the right to wear it naturally became a right with protections. In other states, employers may discriminate against natural hair because it is part of racial discrimination. 

Alaska Statutes contain an extensive list of illegal and discriminatory workplace practices. In particular, it describes protected classes and situations where an employer cannot discriminate. For example, state law specifically points to the following as distinctions that should not affect your employment:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy
  • Parenthood
  • Physical or mental disabilities

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

This legislation prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on race, religion, sex, color, or national origin. It typically applies to organizations with 15 or more employees. Nonetheless, it also applies to schools (both public and private) and labor organizations.

This type of legislation in Alaska started with the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945. It states that discriminatory actions can result in a $250 fine and up to 30 days in prison.

Other Notable Applicable Federal Discrimination Laws

Examples of State Workplace Discrimination Laws

  • Alaska: Equal Employment Opportunity Program – This legislation outlines how affirmative action should work in the state. It also banned retaliation and created a system for investigating complaints.
  • California: The CROWN Act – Bans employers from discriminating against ethnic hair.
  • New York: Human Rights Law – Prohibits discrimination.. Includes expansions to include ethnic hair, sexual orientation, and gender identity as characteristics with protections
  • Washington: Washington State Law Against Discrimination – Makes discrimination illegal, including discrimination against disabled people who rely on service animals

What Is the Workplace Discrimination Process Like?

Filing a claim for workplace discrimination in Juneau, Alaska can be a tricky process. Many potential laws can come into play. This complexity is especially the case when the characteristics with protections only qualify under state law.

The EEOC enforces federal workplace discrimination laws. In some cases, individual state labor departments handle the claims that only qualify under state legislation.

Filing a Claim

Workers have about 180 days to file a federal claim to remain within the statute of limitations. Accordingly, time is of the essence with discrimination claims, and you may want a discrimination lawyer from the start.

Juneau, AK claimants also need to provide some basic information with their claim. Depending on the agency, the employer’s name, the name(s) of involved parties, and a description of the incident. It will also include the contact information for everyone with involvement in the issue.

Once the investigation has begun, the agency may request more information. Generally, they give you ample time and opportunity to produce said information if this happens.

Investigating the Claim

The investigation may involve interviewing the employee from Juneau. Other employees at the place of business will also become involved. However, anyone else who may have relevant information can get involved.

The EEOC determines if the claim is valid and that discrimination took place. The next step is generally to work toward a settlement through mediation. For this reason, both parties may have several incentives to work out a compromise.

Still, you may have to file a lawsuit with the appropriate judiciary. This reality is especially true if the parties cannot settle. Consequently, an attorney can issue a “Right to Sue” letter that gives the employee the right to start litigation.

Juneau residents that receive a denial of their claim have 30 days to appeal. The EEOC will not have one of their attorneys review your case if you wait too long.

Work With an Experienced Workplace Discrimination Lawyer In Juneau, Alaska

Consider hiring an Alaska discrimination lawyer as soon as the incident happens. Juneau, AK attorneys can help you with the necessary preparation.

Experts often recommend you resolve the issue internally through the proper HR channels. On the other hand, many employers mishandle these cases.

If the court rules in your favor, you might become entitled to several different compensatory benefits:

  • Back pay
  • Promotion
  • Reinstatement
  • Front pay
  • Reasonable accommodations
  • Payment of attorney’s fees, court costs, and expert witness fees

Are you ready to discover if you are eligible for these benefits in Juneau? Start with a case review. Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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