Governmental Discrimination

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 What Is Governmental Discrimination?

Governmental discrimination or discrimination in the government refers to the unfair or prejudiced treatment of people or groups by governmental agencies based on protected characteristics. This can take the form of biased policies, prejudiced law enforcement, unequal access to resources, or unfair treatment within the justice system. Governmental discrimination can be based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin, or other protected characteristics.

Discrimination lawsuits are initiated by people or groups who believe they have been subjected to unfair treatment or prejudiced actions by another party, including a government entity, on the basis of their protected characteristics. These suits can be filed at state or federal levels and are designed to remedy the discriminatory conduct, often through monetary compensation, policy changes, or other appropriate remedies.

What Are the Stages of the Equal Employment Opportunity Complaint Process?

The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint process is a series of steps established by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for employees to formally lodge a complaint about employment discrimination.

The steps are:

  1. Counseling: An aggrieved person must contact an EEO Counselor within 45 days of the discriminatory incident. The counselor will attempt to resolve the issue informally through mediation or counseling.
  2. Formal Complaint: If an informal resolution isn’t reached, the individual can file a formal complaint within 15 days of receiving the notice of the right to file a complaint.
  3. Investigation: The agency will then conduct an investigation to gather facts about the complaint. This process should be completed within 180 days of the filing of the complaint.
  4. Final Agency Decision (FAD) or Hearing: After the investigation, the complainant can request a hearing before an EEOC administrative judge or ask the agency to issue a FAD without a hearing.
  5. Appeal: If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision, they can appeal to the EEOC or take the matter to a federal district court.

Are There Additional Discrimination Laws?

In addition to EEO laws, there are other laws that protect people from discrimination.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is one of the most significant pieces of legislation in the fight against discrimination in the U.S. Title VII of the act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. It applies to any employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments.

It works by ensuring equal treatment in employment matters, prohibiting harassment, and forbidding retaliation against an individual for exercising their rights under the law. For example, if an employer refused to hire someone solely because of their race or laid off a worker due to religious beliefs, the affected individuals could file a discrimination lawsuit under this act.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

ADEA protects workers who are 40 years of age or older from discrimination in employment. This law ensures that age is not a factor in decisions about hiring, firing, pay, promotions, or any other term or condition of employment. For instance, if a company was found to consistently overlook older employees for promotion or laid off older workers while keeping younger ones in similar roles, they could be sued under ADEA.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

ADA offers comprehensive protections to individuals with disabilities, much like the Civil Rights Act does for individuals facing discrimination based on race, religion, sex, and nationality. It requires employers, public spaces, and services to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and prohibits discrimination against them. A common example of ADA at work might be a company modifying work schedules or duties to accommodate an employee’s disability or a restaurant ensuring wheelchair accessibility.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by federal agencies, programs receiving federal financial assistance, and in federal employment. For instance, a federal agency that refuses to accommodate a disabled employee’s needs, where such accommodation wouldn’t impose undue hardship, could be held liable under this act.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)

GINA prohibits employers from using individuals’ genetic information when making decisions about hiring, promotion, and several other terms of employment. It also restricts insurers from using genetic information to set premium or contribution amounts.

An example could be a situation where an employer learns of an employee’s genetic predisposition to a certain disease and fires them out of fear they will become sick and less productive. The employee could potentially sue under GINA.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)

IRCA prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship status in employment. For example, if an employer prefers to hire U.S. citizens over equally qualified authorized immigrants, this could be considered discrimination under IRCA.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)

EPA requires that men and women in the same workplace receive equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. If a woman is paid less than a man for doing substantially similar work, she could lodge a complaint or sue her employer under the EPA.

What Remedies Are Available for Governmental Discrimination?

In cases of governmental discrimination, several remedies may be available to the aggrieved party depending on the nature and impact of the discriminatory act. These remedies aim to “make whole” the individual who suffered discrimination. They include:

  1. Back Pay: Back pay refers to the wages, benefits, or other compensation that an individual would have earned from the time of the discriminatory act to the time a judgment is made.
  2. Front Pay: Front pay covers the loss of future wages and benefits that an individual will suffer due to the discriminatory act. It is often awarded when reinstatement is not possible or practical.
  3. Compensatory Damages: These damages cover actual financial losses, such as costs associated with a job search or medical expenses. They also cover non-financial harm such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and inconvenience caused by discrimination.
  4. Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are awarded to punish the discriminating party for malicious or reckless conduct. These are not often awarded in cases against government entities, as the law often limits or prohibits such damages against the government.
  5. Injunctive Relief: In some cases, a court may order the governmental agency to stop its discriminatory practices or to take specific actions to remedy the discrimination.
  6. Policy Changes: Courts can require an agency to change its policies that led to the discrimination, helping prevent future discriminatory practices.

Do I Need a Governmental Discrimination Attorney?

When facing governmental discrimination, it’s best to have an experienced attorney who understands the complexity of these cases. Discrimination laws can be intricate, and every case requires a unique approach. A knowledgeable government lawyer can help you understand your rights, evaluate your claim, and guide you through the legal process.

LegalMatch is a valuable resource that can help you find the right attorney. With LegalMatch, you can present your case, and based on the information provided, you will be matched with an attorney who handles governmental discrimination cases. Our service ensures that you get legal representation tailored to your unique situation.

Facing discrimination can be a challenging experience, but with the right legal help, you can assert your rights and seek the justice you deserve. Don’t let discrimination go unchallenged; get in touch with a governmental discrimination attorney through LegalMatch today.

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