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What federal and state laws apply to workplace discrimination?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Workplace Discrimination

Employment discrimination can quickly derail a career that’s taken years to build. It can also prevent you from getting your career off the ground. Both outcomes can negatively impact your emotional and psychological well-being while also cratering your financial stability.

These are unfair and undeserved outcomes that you shouldn’t sit back and accept. But to take successful legal action to protect your rights, you have to know how state and federal discrimination laws might apply to you. So, let’s look at some of the discrimination laws that might be applicable to your workplace discrimination case.

Title VII discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects federal and state employees as well as private sector employees at businesses with more than 15 employees from workplace discrimination. Under the provisions of this law, employers are prohibited from discriminating based on race, religion, gender, or national origin.

Additionally, employers are prohibited from retaliating against a worker because they reported discriminatory workplace behavior, because they filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or because they participated as a witness in a discrimination case. This is often the most utilized law when facing workplace discrimination.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

This federal law protects against disability discrimination in many aspects of life, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, and government programs and services.

The ADA also requires many employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers who request them, thereby allowing those workers to enjoy equal employment opportunities.

Employers who are required to provide accommodations can justifiably refuse those accommodations only if they can show that compliance would create an undue hardship.

It’s important to note that discrimination protections under the ADA, as with Title VII, extends to all aspects of employment. This means that disabled individuals must be treated fairly in hiring, pay, job assignment, promotion, and termination decisions.

The Texas Commission on Human Rights

This state agency works to enforce discrimination laws at a state level, relying on many state statutes that are similar to federal workplace discrimination protections. They also address discrimination in housing practices. However, state law also only applies to businesses that have 15 or more employees.

If you think that you’ve been discriminated against, then you have 180 days to file your complaint with the Commission, which serves in a role like the federal EEOC. At that point, you’ll have to navigate the administrative process before seeking any remaining relief from the judicial system.

What can you recover from a disability claim?

Regardless of which statute you file your workplace discrimination case under, you can seek compensation for the damages that have been caused to you. This can include back pay, lost future wages, emotional distress, and perhaps even punitive damages.

To recover as much compensation as you can, though, you need to track your losses and be able to clearly articulate them to the court. You might need experts to help you do that.

Do you need guidance navigating your discrimination case?

If so, then you should continue to research the law and how workplace discrimination cases tend to play out. This will give you an idea of what to expect from the process and what you need to prove to win your case.

That might sound stressful, but you can find support to help you get through any challenges that you might face. So, if you’re ready to get your case off the ground, have your voice heard, and protect your rights, then now is the time to act.