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Workplaces are supposed to provide an environment where people are paid purely on merit, and where employees are treated equally regardless of race, sex, age, or religion. Unfortunately, people from all walks of life in all of society’s professions can face discriminatory workplace practices that affect everything from hiring and firing decisions, to promotions, to wage rates.
A Tennessee workplace discrimination lawyer can help you understand your rights under the law. An experienced attorney can help you pursue appropriate remedies and compensation in the face of discrimination.
For a workplace behavior to be legally classified as discrimination, a person must face an adverse effect on their employment due to who they are. Specifically, there are six identifying factors that may be grounds for discrimination:
Allegations of workplace discrimination can sometimes devolve into a “he-said, she-said” debate that is difficult to effectively resolve. Because of this, it may be a good idea to carefully document all interactions with the employer related to treatment suspected of being discriminatory.
Because an employer will rarely outright state the reason for discriminatory treatment of an employee, many discrimination cases may ultimately rely upon circumstantial evidence.
In the landmark Supreme Court case of McDonnell Douglass Corp. v. Green, the Court stated that a plaintiff can provide evidence of discrimination if they demonstrate that:
For example, if a man aged 50 works in a factory, is laid-off, and soon after is replaced by a man who is 25 years old, the worker may have the beginning of a workplace discrimination case.
Once this standard is met, the burden shifts to the employer to prove that the change in personnel was not due to discriminatory practices, such as the older worker’s age, in the previous example.
Aggrieved workers cannot take their cases directly to court. Tennessee law states that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has initial jurisdiction to handle all claims of workplace discrimination. This commission will investigate the claim, form a decision, and hand out punishment and remedies accordingly.
If it is found that discrimination took place, the worker may be offered the position back or granted a sum to be paid by the employer. The employer may also be cited for violations.
If the EEOC does not find that a violation occurred, they will issue the worker a right to sue form that allows them to take their case to civil court if they wish to continue pursuing compensation.
An employer facing adverse employment opportunities due to their status as members of a protected class can contact a Tennessee workplace discrimination lawyers for assistance today. We can help file complaints with the EEOC, provide evidence and testimony to the commission, and file complaints in court if the commission fails to act.