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When Do You Need an Employment Discrimination Lawyer?

You might need an employment discrimination lawyer if you believe you’ve been discriminated against by your employer based on protected characteristics such as your race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), religion, disability, or age (if you are age 40 or older).

Other situations may include being denied reasonable accommodations for a disability or for religious practices, experiencing retaliation for filing a discrimination claim, or facing a hostile work environment due to discrimination. If you are unsure about your situation, it is advisable to consult with an employment lawyer.

Let’s delve a little deeper into this subject.

Discrimination at Workplace

Discrimination at work can take many forms. It may involve being denied a job or promotion, being paid less than others doing the same job, being subjected to different or unfair treatment, or even losing your job, all based on a characteristic protected by law.

For instance, an employer might not hire you simply because you’re a woman, or you might be paid less than a male colleague doing the same work. Discrimination can also be subtle, such as an employer consistently giving preferential treatment or more favorable assignments to employees of a certain race.

Protected Characteristics

The law protects employees from discrimination based on certain characteristics. These include race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), religion, disability, and age (if you are age 40 or older). Some states also offer additional protections, such as protection from discrimination based on marital status, military status, or genetic information.

Reasonable Accommodations

Under federal law, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities and those who need accommodations for religious practices unless doing so would cause undue hardship for the employer. If you have requested such an accommodation and have been denied, or if you have been retaliated against for making such a request, you might need an employment discrimination lawyer.


It’s also illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who have asserted their rights under anti-discrimination laws. This means that if you have filed a discrimination complaint, participated in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit, or opposed discriminatory practices, your employer cannot fire you, demote you, harass you, or otherwise treat you unfavorably because of these actions.

Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome comments or conduct based on a protected characteristic, and the behavior is so severe or pervasive that it affects the terms or conditions of employment. It can include offensive jokes, slurs, name-calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Employment Discrimination Lawyer in the U.S.?

Some lawyers may offer a free consultation, after which they may charge by the hour, ranging from $150 to $400 or more. Others may work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they win your case, typically taking a percentage (usually between 25% and 40%) of your award. Always ask about fees and payment expectations upfront.

What to Look For in a Employment Discrimination Lawyer?

When looking for an employment discrimination lawyer, you should consider their background and experience in employment law and, specifically, in handling discrimination cases.

Look for someone who understands the laws applicable to your situation, has a strong track record, communicates well, and treats you with respect. Reading reviews, checking their standing with your local bar association, and getting referrals can also be helpful.

How to Prepare for Your Consultation With a Employment Discrimination Lawyer?

Before your consultation, gather and organize all relevant documents, such as employment contracts, employee handbooks, emails, or other correspondence that might demonstrate discrimination. Make a timeline or a detailed account of the incidents of discrimination. Be prepared to discuss your goals for the case. Write down any questions you have for the attorney to ensure you don’t forget to ask them during the consultation.

Where to Find the Best Employment Discrimination Lawyers in the U.S.?

LegalMatch is an online service that can help you find a pre-screened employment discrimination lawyer in your area. You submit your case details through their platform, and they match you with attorneys who are interested and qualified to handle your case. It’s up to you to review their profiles, reviews, and fee structures to decide who you’d like to contact.

You can also ask for referrals from friends, colleagues, or other professionals or contact your local bar association’s lawyer referral service. Always be sure to research any attorney before hiring them.

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