We hope you never encounter discrimination in your workplace, but if you do, the government can enforce your rights against a discriminatory employer. You have the option of filing an employment discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Maryland Commission for Civil Rights (MCCR or Commission). And in a successful EEOC or MCCR complaint, you can receive remedies such as financial compensation, job or benefit reinstatement, and policy changes at work.
Whether you choose to file with the EEOC or MCCR, you should have the help of an attorney to handle the complexities of initiating and litigating your complaint. At Smithey Law Group LLC, our experienced employment discrimination attorneys focus solely on protecting individuals’ rights in employment disputes. We hope you call us before confronting an employer about its unlawful and discriminatory acts.
Employment Discrimination Is Against Maryland Law
An employer can establish its own criteria for determining who can be a part of its workforce and what benefits employees can receive. However, an employer’s criteria or motivations cannot be discriminatory. An employer violates Maryland law if it bases its treatment of an employee or prospective employee on one of the following characteristics:
- Gender (or gender identity),
- Genetic information,
- Marital status,
- National origin,
- Religion, or
As soon as you sense that your employer is treating you differently because of one of your protected characteristics, speak to an attorney who can help ensure that your employer is held accountable.
Filing a Maryland Commission for Civil Rights Complaint
The MCCR enforces Maryland employees’ rights against discrimination in the workplace. To initiate and adjudicate a complaint with the MCCR in employment discrimination cases, you must complete multiple steps.
Step One: Timely File Your Complaint
You have very little time to file a discrimination complaint with the MCCR, so you have to act quickly after enduring unlawful behavior from an employer. To enforce and preserve your rights, you must file your MCCR complaint within 300 days.
Step Two: Fill Out MCCR’s Online Inquiry Form
When you are ready to enlist the help of the MCCR after suffering unlawful mistreatment at work, you need to complete and submit an inquiry form on the Commission’s website. On your inquiry form, you must provide preliminary information about yourself and your case. And after you complete and submit your inquiry form, MCCR’s intake unit will schedule you for an interview with an Intake Officer.
Step Three: Attend an Interview with Your MCCR Intake Officer
To properly initiate your complaint, you must attend an interview with an MCCR Intake Officer. This interview will take place in person or over the phone.
Step Four: Complete and Sign a Charge of Discrimination and Other Related Paperwork
In conjunction with your Intake Officer interview, you will have paperwork to sign and return to the MCCR to make your complaint official. This necessary paperwork includes a Charge of Discrimination and could include additional documents requested by your intake officer.
Step Five: Provide Evidence and Attend Necessary Meetings for MCCR’s Investigation
After you attend your interview and submit the necessary documents for commencing an official complaint, the MCCR begins its investigation of your case. Your investigator may carry out their duties by gathering and reviewing documents, visiting your worksite, interviewing witnesses, and holding fact-finding conferences. You have a significant role to play in the success of an MCCR investigation because you need to provide evidence of the discrimination you endured.
Evidence you should gather from the moment you experience discrimination can include the following:
- Detailed notes about each instance of discrimination;
- Employer correspondence;
- Witness information;
- Records of work commendations;
- Wage records;
- Copies of complaints you filed with a supervisor or human resources;
- Correspondence with your employer;
- Copies of complaint resolutions;
- Personnel files (if you have access);
- Employer policies and handbooks;
- Invoices and receipts;
- Correspondence with a harasser (if applicable);
- Healthcare records;
- Relevant employment, education, and training history; and
- Disciplinary records.
Sometimes proving discrimination in an employment case requires evidence to which you do not have access. Collect whatever evidence you are allowed to collect, and your attorney can use legal tools to obtain the documents that are outside of your reach.
Step Six: Pay Close Attention to Your Investigator’s Findings and React Accordingly
After an MCCR investigator completes their review of your case and the evidence, they submit a written finding regarding your discrimination complaint. It is crucial that you read this written finding immediately so you can take the proper next steps in your case.
If the investigator finds probable cause for your discrimination claim, they will attempt to resolve the matter and forward the case to the Office of General Counsel to litigate the matter (if necessary). If the investigator does not find probable cause for your claim, the investigator will dismiss your complaint, and you have only 15 days to submit a Written Request for Reconsideration.
Hiring an Attorney Is Crucial
You can have attorney representation at every stage of initiating and resolving an employment dispute. You should take advantage of your option to have representation. Your attorney can make sure that your case is timely filed, help you gather important evidence, prepare you for the investigation process and any necessary hearings, effectively argue your position before tribunals, and maximize your recovery. And if you do not want to litigate your dispute, your attorney can negotiate the best settlement possible on your behalf.
Speak to an Attorney at Smithey Law Group Today
If you need a skilled advocate who can champion your rights against a discriminatory employer, you should call Smithey Law Group. Our top-rated attorneys focus exclusively on employment law matters, and we are leaders in the Maryland employment law community. We are sought after to write books on employment law, educate other professionals regarding employment law, and protect employees from employer misconduct. Please call us at 410-609-9639 or contact us online for help.