Newton Discrimination Law Firm – Age, Race, Disability, Gender, Nationality, Religion, and Sexual Orientation
Generally speaking, employers are free to compensate, hire, promote, and fire “at-will” employees in whatever manner they believe is best for their business. However, employers may not base such decisions on age, gender, medical condition/disability (which includes pregnancy), race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.
When employers base their decisions upon one of these criteria (or use a criteria as a factor in the decision) and those in a “protected” class are harmed from such decisions, such actions will likely be deemed illegal under federal and/or state laws, and the employees harmed will have a legal cause of action against their employer.
If you believe that you are being subjected to workplace discrimination, don’t quit or resign. If you do so, you may be giving up important leverage. Call us before leaving your job. We can walk you through the various options and we can help.
Settlements & Verdicts
Settled national origin discrimination case for employee.
Settled case involving Massachusetts' new Earned Sick Leave Law.
Settled age discrimination case against a large retailer.
Are You Protected Under the Law?
In order to bring a discrimination case, you must first be a member of a legally protected class recognized by the law. For instance, an employer may have a bias against millennials in general, but millennials are not a legally protected class.
As a result, being fired based on being a millennial is not legally protected. However, for example, if you are age 40 or older, and you were fired due to your age, you would be entitled to bring a discrimination lawsuit.
Proving Your Case
Our firm is experienced in handling discrimination cases. At the outset, it’s important to understand that discrimination cases often can be difficult to prove. In order to prevail, an employee must show that the employer’s “primary” motivation for their actions was the result of discrimination in one of the protected classes.
For example, an employer may fire a pregnant woman for almost any reason, except for being pregnant. The employer may decide that he doesn’t like the woman, or that, in his view, the woman does not get along well with others in the office. These are legally acceptable reasons to terminate an employee.
However, the employer cannot fire a pregnant woman because the employer feels the woman is a “burden,” or that the woman may not return to work after taking maternity leave. The employer also cannot fire the woman because she needs to take time off for doctor’s appointments.
In the case of a potential discriminatory action (termination, not being promoted, being underpaid, etc.), we will seek proof that the primary motivating factor for the action is one that is illegal. We will want, for instance, to learn about the facts and circumstances surrounding the action. For instance, if a pregnant woman was fired at the same time that other non-pregnant women were fired and the alleged reasons for such terminations are cost reductions, it may be more difficult to prove that the pregnant woman was the victim of illegal discrimination. Conversely, if a pregnant woman with an outstanding work record is fired after announcing her pregnancy, this may suggest that the pregnancy is the motivating factor.
We will also want to subpoena documents and conduct interviews and depositions. It will be important to understand whether the person doing the firing made comments to others about the reason for the firing, or if there are emails that suggest an illegal motive.
Understanding Your Objectives
In many cases, clients who come to us have already lost their job or resigned from their job. In these situations, we will want to identify the objectives that our clients have, so that we can create a strategic plan based upon their objectives.
In some cases, returning to their job may not be feasible or desirable. As a result, often the goal may include:
- Obtaining compensation for illegal and wrongful treatment
- Obtaining a letter of recommendation
- Obtaining benefits and compensation that otherwise may have become due, such as commissions.
In other cases, at a client’s direction, we may demand job reinstatement.
Call Us to Learn How We Can Help
We offer a free telephone consultation. Once we learn about your situation, we can advise you as to the options that might be available for you and how we can help.
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