Employment Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation
The employment lawyers at Potomac Legal Group have extensive experience representing employees with discrimination claims. Our attorneys have represented numerous employees who have faced discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
Regardless of the type of discrimination you experienced, you can rely on Potomac Legal Group to protect your rights and aggressively maximize your recovery.
Our attorneys have experience pursuing settlements, drafting EEOC charges and litigating employment claims in Federal and state courts throughout Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. The Firm has represented executives, professionals, sales people, medical providers, administrative assistants, technical staff and many others in pursuing discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and retaliation claims.
If you believe that your employer engaged in discrimination, or if you believe discrimination played a role in your termination, work assignments and opportunities, or an employer’s decision not to hire you, then you should contact Potomac Legal Group immediately to schedule a consultation. Discrimination claims are time sensitive, and you must pursue them within a timeline set by law.
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What Does Employment Discrimination Look Like?
Employment discrimination generally occurs as an action, or a series of events, in which an employer singles out and treats a protected employee differently than other employees. Signs of discrimination may include assigning a different standard of management, workload or performance assessment that makes it more difficult for the employee to gain promotions, raises, or to retain their job.
An employer may single out an employee for a performance improvement plan, position elimination or termination, while retaining non-protected workers.
Discriminatory harassment may include verbal or written statements that refer directly to an employee’s traits, such as their skin color, age or gender. An employee may also discover an employer, supervisor or co-worker making crude, disparaging or racist statements. Direct and specific statements are significant evidence in discrimination claims. Those types of statements, however, are not necessary in bringing forward discrimination claims.
Harassment of any protected class, as well as sexual harassment, is discriminatory conduct. Any retaliation an employer takes against an employee who complains about discrimination or pursues a claim is also a discriminatory action.
Litigation, Right to Sue & EEOC Charges
An employer’s pattern of behavior, actions, statements and treatment of a protected employee, comprise the evidence of employment discrimination. The employment lawyers at Potomac Legal Group are experts in reviewing your employment experience and identifying evidence of employment discrimination. We will assist you in developing your case and moving forward aggressively to pursue your claims and maximize your recovery.
Settlements & EEOC Charges
Before initiating any charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), you should first contact our attorneys to review your claims. Potomac Legal Group can help you determine whether to attempt settlement of your matter with your employer or to submit an EEOC charge. When the time is right, the Firm can help you prepare a charge.
Should litigation become necessary after receiving your right to sue, the employment attorneys at Potomac Legal Group offer aggressive and experienced representation in Federal and state courts. Our attorneys provide representation in Washington, DC, Maryland & Virginia.
If you have already filed an EEOC charge, you should still speak with our attorneys to discuss your matter. Our attorneys can provide representation at any stage of the investigation, and claimants should have a lawyer in mediation. Upon receiving your right to sue notice, you will benefit from having an attorney who is already familiar with your case.
Deadlines to File an EEOC Charge
You must act quickly when discrimination occurs. Employees generally have only 180 days to file an EEOC charge from the date the discrimination occurs. The deadline may be extended if a state law also prohibits that type of discrimination.
In most situations, Federal employees only have 45 days to file an EEO complaint.
You cannot miss a deadline if you wish to protect your rights. You may contact Potomac Legal Group to review your matter and answer any questions regarding employment discrimination and EEOC charges.
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Federal and state law protect employees by prohibiting employers from engaging in any discriminatory conduct in relation to termination, loss of opportunities, or treating employees differently. Federal law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees in Washington, DC, and every state, including Maryland and Virginia. States also protect employees with anti-discrimination laws that may include additional protections, however, those laws only cover employees of that state.
Federal law prohibits many types of employment discrimination, including:
- Race and Color: It is unlawful for employers to treat employees unfavorably due to race, color, hair texture or facial features. Employees must receive equal treatment in all work situations. Employers may not permit harassment, which may include statements, writings or symbols, based on race, nor may an employer permit harassing behavior toward an employee because of his or her spouse’s race.
- Religion: The law protects employees from discriminatory employment actions and provides employees the right to reasonable accommodation, such as allowing time for religious observance, dress and head coverings. In addition to prohibiting religious harassment, the law also prohibits segregation, which may include assigning employees to non-customer service jobs in order to conceal their religious affiliation from customers.
- Sex & Harassment: Federal law provides a wide net of sex discrimination protections. Employers may not discriminate based on gender preferences, nor may they condone sexual harassment, where language or actions are unwanted, unwelcome, or required in exchange for any employment opportunity.
- National Origin: Under the law, no employer may engage is discrimination or harassment based on the nation from which the employee or the employee’s family originated.
- ‘English Only’ Rule: An employer may only institute an ‘English Only’ rule, which require employees to only speak English at work, if it’s necessary for safe business operation and the policy does not target specific employees.
- Disability: Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees in many situations and refrain from harassment, under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employers may not demand a medical exam prior to extending a job offer, and questions regarding health are prohibited in the hiring process. However, employers may require a medical exam or questionnaire in some situations after making a job offer.Federal employees are covered by the similar Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- Family Medical Leave: Disability anti-discrimination laws do not extend to family members, however, employees do have rights under the Family Medical Leave Act to request leave to care for family members.
- Genetic Information: Federal law permits employers only a small number of reasons for accessing employees’ genetic information. Generally, the information is protected, and, when it is disclosed to an employer, no discriminatory actions or retaliation may be taken, according to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act: Pregnancy and temporary disabilities related to pregnancy are covered by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Americans with Disability Act. Employers may not discriminate against pregnant employees or those experiencing temporary disabilities, which include conditions that require bed rest.
- Age: Discrimination is prohibited for employees age 40 and over in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing and job assignments, as well as workplace harassment, such as age-related derogatory remarks, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
- Citizenship Status: Employers may not discriminate on the basis of citizenship status. Any employee who is legally eligible to work in the United States is protected under the Immigration Reform & Control Act of 1986.
- Equal Pay: The Equal Pay Act requires employers to provide employees equal pay for equal work. All forms of equal pay are protected in this law, such as salary, bonuses, benefits, stock options and more.
- Sexual Orientation: The EEOC recognizes sexual orientation and gender identity as a part of sex discrimination and harassment.
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Federal law generally protect employees in every area of employment. Covered employers may not engage in any unlawful discrimination or employment activity in hiring, promoting or terminating an employee. It is unlawful to deny employment for any employee protected by law. Employers must also provide equal access to opportunities and promotions to every qualified employee.
Federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws permit employees to engage in “protected activity” and assert their rights in protecting themselves from employment discrimination, as well as reporting discriminatory activity.
Protected activities include many actions related to discrimination or harassment, such as making a report to a supervisor or human resources, filing or participating in an EEOC charge, requesting a disability or pregnancy accommodation, refusing to follow an order to discriminate, resisting sexual advances, as well as many other activities.
A retaliatory activity is any punishment or negative consequence that the employer places on the employee for his or her participation in a protected activity. Retaliation may include termination, reprimand, negative performance review or salary reduction. An employer may also retaliate by transferring the employee to a less desirable or more challenging position or work assignment, or the employer may increase its scrutiny of the employee’s work, spread rumors or engage in verbal abuse toward the employee.
Many other types of retaliation are possible and require a full legal review in order to identify every retaliatory activity. Retaliation is common, and the EEOC notes that it’s one of the most frequent discrimination complaints.
Potomac Legal Group will assist you in identifying retaliation and pursuing the appropriate claims against your employer. Our lawyers will guide you and aggressively advocate on your behalf should you face ongoing retaliation during your employment.
State Employment Discrimination Laws
Maryland Employment Discrimination
The state of Maryland has anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation in employment laws that cover the same classes as Federal law with a few additions. Maryland discrimination laws also protect marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity as part of the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act.
Maryland was among the first states to introduce a pregnancy accommodation law, which requires employers to explore all possible means of providing a requested workplace accommodation. Medical leave might be considered an accommodation when bed rest is required.
Washington, DC, Employment Discrimination
District of Columbia employment discrimination laws protect the same classes as Federal protections, as well as numerous other classes. These discrimination laws cover parenthood, childbirth, breastfeeding, marital status, domestic partnership, sexual orientation, gender identity, matriculation, family duties, personal appearance, political affiliation, credit information, tobacco use and status as unemployed.
Virginia Employment Discrimination
The Virginia Human Rights Act protects employees in making it unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions, marital status or disability.
Discuss How Potomac Legal Group Can Help You
Contact the experienced employment attorneys at Potomac Legal Group to discuss your employment discrimination or harassment claims.