Clearwater Employment Discrimination & Sexual Harassment Attorney
In 2015 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed nearly 90,000 charges of employment discrimination and retaliation. Over eight percent of filings nationwide typically occur in the state of Florida. As a dedicated and experienced Clearwater employment discrimination attorney, Amie Dilla of Dilla Employment Law helps employees and businesses vindicate their rights under federal and Florida antidiscrimination laws.
Employment Discrimination – Florida and Federal Laws
State and federal laws protect employees from discrimination in employment based on race, sex, religion, disability, age, marital status and other conditions. These laws may apply to any aspect of the employment relationship, including hiring and firing; discipline; transfer and assignment; pay, including salary and fringe benefits; job advertisements and recruitment; layoffs and recall; etc.
At the federal level, a host of different laws apply to workplace discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation. The major laws enforced by the EEOC include the following:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Race, Color, National Origin, Religion, Sex/Gender discrimination)
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- American with Disability Act (ADA)
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
- Equal Pay Act (EPA)
The latest federal employment discrimination law is the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Two hundred fifty-seven charges were filed alleging violations of GINA last year.
At the state level, nearly all of the protections of federal law and more can be found in the Florida Civil Rights Act, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, handicap or marital status.
Workplace Discrimination Complaint Process
Employees are encouraged to first follow any internal company policies and procedures for making a complaint about workplace discrimination or harassment. It is very important for companies to have policies in place that clearly spell out unlawful employment discrimination and harassment, and provide a way for employees to complain to their supervisors about perceived discrimination or harassment. A good complaint policy also includes a by-pass procedure when the subject of the complaint is the supervisor who is normally reported to. It is important not just to have a policy in place, but to ensure that employees are familiar with the policy, and that supervisors are trained in how to receive complaints, investigate, take appropriate action and communicate the results to the complainant. Dilla Employment Law helps employers draft policies that are compliant with Florida and federal law, and effective for employees with legitimate complaints.
If the problem cannot be resolved internally, the next step in most cases is to file an administrative complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Florida Commission on Human Rights (FCHR). Under some laws, such as the Equal Pay Act, an employee can skip the administrative process and go straight to court, but in most instances the employee must first go through the process with the EEOC or the FCHR.
In many cases, the EEOC and the FCHR cover the same types of discrimination claims. Where both federal and state laws apply, whichever agency the employee files with can dual-file the claim with the other agency. It is still important to know which agency to apply to, since not all claims will be handled by both agencies, and important issues such as timelines may be different depending upon the agency involved.
The agency then has 180 days to investigate the complaint and attempt to resolve it. The agency may decide to take action against the employer directly on behalf of the employee. If it decides not to pursue the matter, the agency issues a Right to Sue letter to the employee. This does not mean that the employee either has a good case or a bad case; it merely means that the agency has declined to pursue the case for whatever reason, and the employee is now free to sue in state or federal court.
In a civil lawsuit, the employee may be able to recover money damages to compensate for the harm inflicted by the discrimination or harassment, including damages such as mental anguish or emotional distress. Other remedies, such as a promotion, raise, or reinstatement with back pay, may also be ordered if appropriate. The prevailing party in the litigation can also have their attorney’s fees and litigation costs paid for by the other party.
Dedicated, Effective Representation in Clearwater Employment Discrimination Disputes
Dilla Employment Law represents employees and employers in employment discrimination claims throughout the greater Clearwater area. An experienced mediator and litigator, Amie Dilla will attempt to resolve the dispute at the earliest possible stage in a way that is most beneficial. When a mutual resolution cannot be reached, Dilla Employment Law is prepared to prosecute or defend a case through all levels of state and federal court, including appeals when necessary. Contact our experienced Clearwater employment discrimination attorney today.
Call Dilla Employment Law at 727-248-6624 for a free consultation regarding a potential employment discrimination claim or defense.