Workplace Discrimination in Missouri
Discrimination is an all-too-familiar scenario for many in the workplace. Likewise, it is also the most common type of workplace lawsuit that workers file. An experienced Missouri workplace discrimination attorney can help. Find out how.
What Is Workplace Discrimination?
Discrimination in the workplace deals with unfair treatment. These laws find their basis on factors such as race, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, physical qualities, or age. Workplace discrimination can occur between employees or between employers and existing or prospective employees.
Missouri 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 current ly have employment from a company to face qualifying discrimination. For instance, the company chose not to hire someone. If it’s because of a qualifying characteristic, the individual may become entitled to a claim.
Here are some of the most common types of discrimination that occur in the Missouriwork 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 Missouri companies have a human resources department and discrimination in the workplace falls within their portfolio. For that reason, raising concerns with the appropriate HR representative may include filing a written report, a possible sit-down interview, and an investigation.
Sometimes a company does not have a human resources department and there are no policies in place. 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 provides advice about what happens after you send a complaint in its FAQ section. According to its website, investigations may take around 180 days before they report their findings. If they agree that your employer in Missouri is liable, you can file a lawsuit against them within 90 days.
What Laws Protect Against Discrimination in the Workplace?
There are federal workplace discrimination laws that help to protect employees. On a federal level, Missouri 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 protection.
Let’s take an example. California became the first state where ethnic hair and the right to wear it naturally became a right. In other states, employers may discriminate against natural hair because of racial discrimination.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
This specifically prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, religion, sex, color, or national origin. It typically applies to organizations with 15 or more employees. It also applies to schools (both public and private) and labor organizations. The EEOC’s primary responsibility is enforcing this law.
Unfortunately, some people have also found themselves facing discrimination for activities outside of work. One instance to consider is the Missouri law that prohibits taking action against alcohol or tobacco users.
The Missouri Commission on Human Rights develops and implements methods to enforce civil rights law in the state. Like the federal government, they set a statute of limitations of 180 days to report an incident in the workplace. If they agree that the organization that employs you crosses the line, you will receive a Notice of Right to Sue.
Other Notable Applicable Federal Discrimination Laws
- Equal Pay Act (EPA) – Deals with equal pay act for men and women
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) – Protects workers aged 40 and over
- Americans with Disabilities Act – Protects employees with physical disabilities
Examples of State Workplace Discrimination Laws
- Missouri: Human Rights Act – makes discrimination for employment, housing, and other accommodations illegal
- California: The CROWN Act – Bans employers from discriminating against ethnic hair.
- New York: Human Rights Law – Prohibits discrimination. It includes protections for ethnic hair, sexual orientation, and gender identity as protected characteristics
- Washington: Washington State Law Against Discrimination – Makes discrimination illegal, including discrimination against people with disabilities who rely on service animals
What Is the Workplace Discrimination Process Like?
Filing a claim for workplace discrimination in Missouri can be a tricky process given the number of potential laws in play. This is especially the case when the characteristics of the case under 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 law.
Filing a Claim
When it comes to federal claims, workers have about 180 days to file, to remain within the statute of limitations. Time is of the essence with discrimination claims. It’s a good idea to hire a discrimination lawyer to help from the beginning.
Missouri 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 involved.
Once the investigation has begun, the agency may request more information. They generally give you ample time and opportunity to produce said information if this happens.
Investigating the Claim
The investigation may involve interviewing the Missouri employee, employer, other employees at the same place of business. However, it may also include anyone else who may have relevant information. The agency determines that the claim is valid and discrimination did, in fact, take place. The next step is generally to work for settlements or mediation. For this reason, both parties have an incentive to work out a compromise.
It may become necessary to file a lawsuit with the appropriate court. This is especially true if the parties cannot reach a settlement on the employee’s behalf. If this is the case, an attorney can issue a “Right To Sue” letter. This letter gives the employee facing discrimination the right to sue on their own accord.
Missouri workers that receive a denial of their claims from the EEOC have the option to appeal. You do not have much time, however. The federal commission expects this request to arrive within 30 days of delivering its decision. This step can be crucial because having a legitimate complaint is a typical and important prerequisite for filing a lawsuit.
Work With an Experienced Workplace Discrimination Lawyer in Missouri
Consider hiring a lawyer who specializes in discrimination in Missouri as soon as the incident takes place. Experts often recommend that you resolve the issue internally through the proper HR channels. On the other hand, many employers mishandle these cases.
If you are considering a lawsuit, an attorney becomes even more necessary. Missouri discrimination attorneys can help you with the paperwork, prepare you for depositions, and find corroborating witnesses to support your claim.
If the court rules in your favor, you might become entitled to several different compensatory benefits:
- Back pay
- Front pay
- Reasonable accommodations
- Payment of attorneys’ fees, court costs, and expert witness fees
Are you ready to find out if you are eligible for these benefits in Missouri? Start with a case review. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Missouri state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!