Maryland Racial Discrimination Lawyers
It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of that employee’s race or national origin. Specifically, federal laws, such as Title VII and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, also referred to as “Section 1981,” prohibit an employer from making discriminatory employment decisions based on race. Likewise, Title VII prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of his national origin or because he associates with people of a particular national origin. For example, Title VII prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because she is married to a member of a particular national origin or is a member of a church, temple, or mosque generally used by persons of a particular national origin.
Unfortunately, this type of discrimination occurs all too often by employers of all sizes. If you or a loved one has been treated unfairly because of your race or national origin, it is important to contact the Maryland racial discrimination lawyers at The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C. to help you seek justice.
Anti-Discrimination Laws in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Harassment against an employee based on race or national origin is also prohibited. Harassment on the basis of race or national origin can include anything from someone making slurs, jokes, or comments about an employee’s race or national origin, which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, to mocking an employee’s cultural habits or traditions.
In addition to the federal laws, both Maryland and D.C. have their own state anti-discrimination laws which provide additional protection to employees facing racial or national origin discrimination. Moreover, some local jurisdictions also have their own local laws in place which provide an additional layer of protection to the employee against discrimination based on race or national origin. Without question, this is a complex area of the law, which requires experienced counsel to navigate. Additionally, there are strict deadlines that must be adhered to in asserting your rights under these various laws, so you should not delay in contacting us to schedule an initial consultation with our Maryland racial discrimination lawyers.
The lawyers at our firm evaluate each case and determine which federal, state, and local laws give you the best chance of obtaining justice against a discriminatory employer. If you believe your employer has discriminated against you because of your race or national origin, contact the experienced discrimination attorneys here at The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C. to schedule a confidential consultation. If you are an employee who believes they have been discriminated because of their race or national origin, you owe it to yourself to find out what legal options are available to you. Indeed, under the law, you have a right to go to work in an environment free from discrimination.
Less Obvious Examples of Discrimination
The use of racial slurs, name-calling or other derogatory behavior are examples of overt racial discrimination in the workplace. While many employers have successfully eliminated such behavior from the workplace, less-obvious forms of discrimination are prevalent. For example:
- Discriminatory hiring practices
- Failure to promote minority employees
- Disciplining minority employees more harshly than others
- Disparate pay for minorities
- Tone-deaf comments that are racial in nature
- Exclusion of minority employees from social events
Many people who have suffered this type of discrimination are not sure they have a claim. However, if you believe that you have been negatively treated by your employer in any way based on your race or national origin, a Maryland racial discrimination attorney can determine whether you have a discrimination claim.
Our Maryland Racial Discrimination Lawyer Explains Disparate Treatment vs. Disparate Impact
When faced with a discrimination claim, many employers will claim that any alleged instance of discrimination was not intentional. Whether or not this is true, it is important to understand that discrimination need not always be intentional to be illegal.
The critical distinction when considering whether you are a victim of discrimination is whether the discriminatory behavior involves disparate treatment or disparate impact.
- Disparate treatment is when an employer treats an employee or employees differently based on their race, ethnicity, or national origin. Disparate treatment is typically intentional and motivated by bigotry. An example of disparate treatment would be an employer’s refusal to promote an employee based solely on their race. In order to prevail in a disparate treatment claim, you have to show that other employees in a similar situation but not in a protected class were treated differently.
- Disparate impact typically involves the employer’s policies or practices. These policies or practices may be neutral on their face but have a negative effect on minority employees. For example, an employer’s dress code could have a disparate impact on minority employees. Even if the employer adopted the dress code not intending to harm minority employees, the dress code could be considered discriminatory. That said, any policy or practice that has a disparate impact may be deemed non-discriminatory if the employer can demonstrate that it serves a legitimate business need that cannot be achieved without a disparate impact.
Cases involving disparate treatment are obviously illegal. However, discrimination based on disparate impact is more subtle and can be more challenging to prove. In either case, it is important to carefully document your claim so that you have the evidence you need to prove your case. Whether you believe you are a victim of disparate treatment or disparate impact, a Maryland racial discrimination attorney can review your case and provide you with the guidance you need.
I’ve Been Discriminated Against - What Do I Do?
If you believe that you are the victim of discrimination, you should first carefully document the discriminatory actions that have been taken against you. Keep detailed notes regarding the date, time, and nature of the discriminatory behavior. In addition, you want to be sure that you note the name of any other employees who witnessed the discrimination.
You should also attempt to resolve the issue internally, as difficult as that may be. First, review your employer’s anti-discrimination policy - it should lay out what you can do if you have suffered as a result of discrimination. If your employer doesn’t have an anti-discrimination policy, you may need to look to other complaint procedures. If there is no formal process for employees to raise issues with their employer, you should bring the matter to your supervisor’s attention, preferably in writing. The purpose of doing this is to formally put your employer on notice of the discrimination and either get the matter resolved or document their failure to take action.
Of course, you can contact a Maryland racial discrimination lawyer for guidance at any time. They can help you determine whether you are the victim of discrimination if you aren’t sure and help you gather the evidence you need. If you are considering pursuing a claim, the matter must be handled correctly from the very start.
Your Discrimination Claim Starts with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
When faced with discriminatory behavior, many employees do not know where to turn. Fortunately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created to handle all allegations of workplace discrimination. As a federal agency, the EEOC has jurisdiction over any case of employment-related racial discrimination in the country, including the state of Maryland. The EEOC investigates claims involving any racially motivated discrimination, including the following:
- Wages and benefits
When the EEOC receives your complaint, it will first determine whether you have a valid claim. If the EEOC believes your claim to be valid, the agency will conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations. If it finds that discrimination has occurred, it will then attempt to settle the case, which could include monetary compensation, reinstatement, or other corrective actions. If they cannot settle your case, they may file a lawsuit against your employer in Federal court.
If the EEOC declines to take your case, they will issue a “right to sue” notice. This notice essentially gives you the right to file your own lawsuit in court seeking compensation or other remedies.
Talk with a Maryland Racial Discrimination Attorney Before Filing Your Complaint
It is important to note that, in most cases, you must file a complaint with the EEOC before taking any other legal action. However, the EEOC will handle your claim free of charge. As a result, it is important to make sure that your complaint is well-documented and contains all of the necessary information so that you can receive the full benefit of your services.
It is not necessary to hire a lawyer to file a complaint with the EEOC. That said, a Maryland racial discrimination attorney can ensure that your claim is as strong as possible and help you navigate the process. In addition, Maryland law may provide additional options not available under federal law. Your lawyer can help you formulate a legal strategy that ensures you will get the best possible outcome in your case.
Working With Our Maryland Racial Discrimination Lawyers is Easy
Working with the attorneys here at The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C. is simple, confidential, and efficient. We thoroughly review your options and the law and then put together a comprehensive strategy to achieve your goals. Attorney Jamaal (“Jay”) W. Stafford is an experienced Maryland racial discrimination lawyer, and he is no stranger to the courtroom. He brings to bear his litigation experience and employment law expertise to craft creative solutions for each of his clients. If you believe your employer has treated you unfairly or has discriminated against you because of your race or national origin, contact us via our website or call us today at 410-514-6099.