The right to fair and equitable employment is necessarily part of the “equal opportunity” that is a cherished value of the United States.  However, in some cases, some categories of individuals may not be hired or promoted on an equal basis with other employees. This circumstances constitutes a legal case of “employment discrimination” that may warrant a legal case in court.

What Is Employment Discrimination?

“Discrimination” is a term used to indicate that someone has been treated less favorably than another individual for unfair reasons. Employers make decisions about employees every day, but when these decisions favor some groups of people over others, for no other reason that they are part of this group, a case of workplace discrimination has occurred. Other people can also be involved in discrimination, such as teachers, coaches, managers or co-workers. Under certain laws, these cases of discrimination are illegal, and the individual who has discriminated against can file a case in court for compensation.

What Categories of Individuals Are Protected Under Discrimination Law?

A number of specific categories of discrimination are named in current laws to protect individuals from unfair treatment in employment. It is illegal to discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or age over 40. In addition, you cannot discriminate on the basis of someone being pregnant nor on any genetic information that may come to light. These categories have been chosen because they have often been the basis of employment discrimination in the past.

How To Tell If You Have Been Discriminated Against?

In some cases, discrimination is out in the open and easy for all to see. However, in other cases, actions that are discriminatory may be subtle and difficult to detect. Generally, employees become aware of patterns of discrimination over time, when they witness policies toward others, which then affect their own treatment on the job. At other times, they may learn of discriminatory practices in conversation with other employees or by other individuals who sought employment at a company in the past. These policies begin to be evident as the instances begin to multiply.

How Is Employment Discrimination Defined in Arizona?

Employment discrimination in Arizona is defined as any action that fails to treat a particular group of people differently from other groups in terms of hiring, firing, work duties, segregated work areas or promotion, based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin or disability.

Examples of Common Employment Discrimination Allegations

Lawsuits are filed against companies in Arizona on the basis of a number of types of discrimination:

  • Failure to hire certain groups of individuals or failure to promote them
  • Discriminating against, discharging or demoting certain groups
  • Paying certain individuals differently or providing benefits on an unequal basis
  • Segregating work areas or work sites
  • Engaging in harassment against certain groups of individuals or tolerating such harassment
  • Discriminating against an individual who is pregnant
  • Failing to provide reasonable accommodation for an individual who is disabled
  • Treating someone differently because of results of their genetic testing
  • Sexual harassment or tolerating sexual harassment of individuals
  • Discriminating against someone who has filed a discrimination lawsuit or who has participated in a suit

Filing A Claim for Employment Discrimination in Arizona

A employment discrimination case can be filed in the Arizona Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division or with the EEOC. The lawsuit must be filed within 180 days of the incident of discrimination. If you file with the EEOC, you have 300 days from the date of discrimination in which to file your case. It is not necessary to hire an attorney to file an employment discrimination case. However, it may be in your interest to have legal representation as you go through the steps of the procedure. You must first attempt administrative means to resolve the case. If this is not successful, you will then go on to file a claim in court.

What Is “Retaliation” As Related to Employment Discrimination?

Retaliation can include firing, demotion or harassment against anyone involved in an employment discrimination case. Retaliation against employees who have filed a claim of employment discrimination is in violation of the law. The law also applies to individuals who are participating in an employment discrimination lawsuit on behalf of others.

The EEOC’s Role in Employment Discrimination Cases

When a charge of employment discrimination is filed with the Arizona Attorney General, it is co-filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). An investigation into the facts of the case is then conducted to determine if discrimination occurred. The EEOC must file a Notice of Right to Sue if the case cannot be resolved administratively.

When Should I Talk To An Attorney About Employment Discrimination?

You may wish to hire a lawyer to represent your interests in an employment discrimination case. Arizona law limits damages for employment discrimination in Arizona, so attorneys may choose to file a case using federal law in state courts.

When seeking employment discrimination lawyers in Mesa, Arizona residents can rely on the knowledgeable, and experienced legal help of JacksonWhite’s AZ employment law team.

Call our Employment Law team at (480) 464-1111 to discuss your case today.

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