Baltimore discrimination lawyer

America is supposed to be the land of opportunity. Everyone should have the ability to seek an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. Unfortunately, many employers hold on to outdated prejudices when it comes to hiring, firing, managing, and disciplining workers. Doing so based on particular characteristics, however, is considered discrimination and a violation of law. Maryland employers are no exception to this unfortunate trend that is still happening across the country, despite advances in local and federal laws protecting individuals from this type of behavior. That is why federal and state laws prohibit employers from unfairly treating their employees or potential employees based on certain characteristics or traits. Any type of discrimination should have no role in the workplace. If you have been the victim of workplace discrimination, you need to speak with a qualified Maryland discrimination lawyer to learn about what steps to take in response.

The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, LLC can help advise you on whether or not you have been a victim of workplace discrimination and explain the next steps available to you. We have represented several victims of discrimination across the State of Maryland and are here to help fight for your rights under applicable law.

If you have been the victim of discrimination, you need to speak with a qualified Maryland discrimination lawyer to learn about what steps to take in response. 

Am I Protected Under Anti-Discrimination Laws?

There are several federal laws as well as Maryland state law that prohibit discrimination by employers of employees, or potential employees, who are part of a protected class under applicable federal and state laws. The first step in assessing a potential discrimination claim is determining if you are in a legally identified class of protected workers. These include, but are not limited to: race, sex, national origin, religion, disability, and age. At The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C., we commonly deal with the following types of discrimination claims:

  • Age Discrimination:  Discrimination based on age is prohibited under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers ages 40 and older;
  • Disability Discrimination: The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodation” to an employee or job applicant who has a disability and prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability;
  • Genetic Information: The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which was passed by Congress in 2008, forbids employers from considering a person’s family medical history and other kinds of “genetic information” when making employment decisions;
  • National Origin: An employer cannot implement policies that have the effect of discriminating against people based on their country of origin, their native language, or the fact that they speak English with an accent;
  • Pregnancy Discrimination: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects women from unfavorable employment treatment based on the fact they are currently pregnant or because they recently had a child;
  • Race Discrimination: It is illegal to treat any employee unfavorably because of racial characteristics. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, skin color, hair texture, or even the fact they are married to someone of another race;
  • Religious Discrimination: Federal law not only protects members of more “traditional” religions from discrimination but also protects anyone who has “sincerely held religious, ethical or moral religious beliefs;”
  • Sex and Gender Discrimination: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act forbids any type of employment discrimination based on sex. Maryland law further prohibits discrimination based on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” which includes failure to adhere to traditional gender norms.

What Kinds of Discrimination Are Illegal?

Discrimination is difficult because it can take many forms. Discrimination may not be immediately obvious, but that does not mean that you are not a victim of discrimination. If you believe you may have been discriminated against at your place of employment, know that you do have rights under state and federal laws. Some examples of discrimination include:

  • Equal Pay and Compensation: Federal law requires men and women be paid the same wage for performing “substantially equal” work. If your employer has a history of paying women less than men in the same positions, that is considered discrimination;
  • Harassment: When there is a pattern of “offensive conduct” that is “severe or pervasive enough” to create a hostile work environment, you have the right to take legal action. Keep in mind that not all teasing or unwelcome conduct is considered rising to the level of harassment;
  • Retaliation: You have the right to pursue an employment discrimination claim on your behalf, or participate in another’s employment discrimination claim, without the fear of losing your job or facing internal disciplinary action from your employer.

Every employee in Maryland has the right to work for full and fair pay in a decent workplace environment, where your value is placed on the quality of your work and no other characteristics. You also are entitled to be treated fairly, and not receive different treatment based on any of your characteristics protected under state and federal laws. It is vital that you know your rights under the law so that you can understand whether or not they have been violated in the workplace by your employer or anyone else in your place of work.

What to Do If You Are the Victim of Discrimination in Maryland

If you believe that you have been a victim of employment discrimination, there are several things you should do to protect your rights. This includes:

  • Document, document, document: Keeping accurate documentation of what is going on is vital to your employment discrimination case. Make sure to keep a record of dates, times, and anyone involved in the alleged discriminatory behavior.
  • Report the incident: In most cases, your first step should be to address your complaint internally with your employer. Make sure to get an official report to document that your complaint was made and keep a copy of it for your records.
  • Interactions with aggressors: Sometimes it is not best to confront the individual engaged in the discriminatory behavior. If this does happen, ensure you immediately document what is said in order to protect yourself should this incident need to be brought up at a later time.
  • Contact the EEOC: If reporting the incident directly to your employer does not resolve your problem, your next step is to then file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or its corresponding Maryland agency.
  • Contact a Maryland discrimination lawyer: The regulations that govern employment discrimination are complex and not all employees who have been discriminated against may even realize they were victims. Speaking with an attorney experienced in Maryland discrimination laws and employee rights can guide you as far as what actions to take and what legal options are available for you.

It is important to understand that oftentimes, you are required to first file a formal employment discrimination complaint with the EEOC and/or the corresponding Maryland state agency so that the claim can be properly investigated. This is a necessary prerequisite before you can file a lawsuit against your employer in court. In other words, you often cannot go straight to court with your discrimination case against your employer if you did not file a formal complaint with the correct administrative agency first.

According to the EEOC, a complaint of violation of state and/or federal employment laws must be filed within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation. This deadline must be strictly adhered to in order to protect the charging party’s rights under federal laws. That being said, the 180-day deadline may be extended if the allegations are also covered by Maryland state employment law.

The 180-day time limit does not apply to violations claimed under the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”). This is because the EPA does not require a victim to first submit a claim with the EEOC prior to filing a lawsuit in court. Nonetheless, because many claims alleged under the EPA also raise issues under Title VII due to sex discrimination, it may be best to file complaints under both laws within the timeframes imposed.

Under Maryland’s Fair Employment Practices Act (MFEPA), employees who have been the victim of workplace discrimination have 180 days from the date of the incident to file a claim with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR). The time limit allowed to file with the EEOC is extended to 300 days. You should not cause undue delay and risk the possibility of missing a filing deadline. It is important you speak with an attorney right away about your situation.

A Maryland Discrimination Lawyer Can Handle Your Claim

No one should have to deal with discrimination or harassment, especially at their place of work. If you believe you are the victim of workplace discrimination, know that you do not have to try to figure out how to handle this disappointing situation by yourself. Maryland discrimination attorney Jamaal (“Jay”) W. Stafford can help you navigate through this potentially confusing and difficult time.

Employment discrimination cases mandate a complex regulatory maze. We will make sure that your case is dealt with in the proper manner so that your rights are protected under applicable federal and Maryland employment laws. Do not wait another day, as you may forego your rights if you delay your claim too long. Contact the Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C., today at (410) 514-6099 to schedule a consultation and discuss your employment issue with us.

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Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

Mr. Stafford is an excellent attorney. He handled my case with the upmost respect, expertise, understanding, and professionalism. His advice kept me grounded and focused on the strategies needed to win my case. I would hire Mr. Stafford again.