Trusted Columbia Discrimination Lawyers Ready To Assist You
Everyone deserves to work in an environment where they can be their best and feel their best. Workspaces function at their optimal level when each employee feels valued and respected, and where everyone can contribute their unique talents and gifts in a positive, encouraging environment. Unfortunately, not all workplaces are like this. While we understand that everyone won’t necessarily be at their “best” every day, it is not too much to expect the opportunity to work in an environment free of illegal discrimination.
If you live in the Columbia area and you believe that you have been the victim of discrimination in your workplace, the experienced, knowledgeable team at Smithey Law Group LLC can help. Conversely, if you are an employer and you believe that you have been unjustly accused of discrimination, or if you are simply seeking to develop preventative workplace policies that can help to discourage discrimination from occurring in the first place, we can help you as well.
What Is Workplace Discrimination?
According to the EEOC, the following are specifics on some of the most common forms of employment discrimination. These elements can come into play during the process of hiring, firing, granting promotions, subjecting employees to layoffs, making job assignments, conferring benefits, or any other condition or term of employment.
Age – The Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA) forbids discrimination for any employee over the age of 40, based on their age.
Disability – Disabled employees (and potential employees) are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. These acts make it illegal for an employer to treat an applicant or employee unfavorably because of a disability. If a potential or current employee has a history of any disability – even something like a past major depressive episode – an employer must not treat them with disfavor or allow persistent abuse of the disabled person by other employees. Employers are expected to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities unless it causes undue hardship for the company.
Genetic Information – This is a recent form of discrimination that covers the results of genetic testing for an individual or their family. Under Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), employers must not make employment decisions based on genetic information. Furthermore, employers are not allowed to require, request, or purchase the genetic information of any employee.
National Origin – It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of their country of origin, the region of the world they were born in, or because of their accent. Interestingly, this law protects people who are mistakenly thought to be of a certain nationality, even if that perception is wrong.
Pregnancy – The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) makes it illegal to discriminate or treat a woman unfairly because of pregnancy. A pregnant employee must be given the same accommodations as would be given to a disabled employee – including a lighter workload and disability leave.
Race/Color – Employers are not allowed to treat employees or applicants unfavorably due to the color of their skin or national origin. They also cannot discriminate against any employee who is married to a person of color, etc.
Religion – The law forbids discrimination based on religion, whether it is the popular religion of the day or not. An employer cannot segregate employees based on religion and must allow employees to wear the traditional garb of their chosen faith if they choose (like a yarmulke or headscarf).
Retaliation – If an employee asserts their legal rights under this or any law, an employer is not allowed to retaliate against them in any way. For instance, if Sue suffered a depressive episode and is now being treated badly by her boss, she may file a suit to improve her working conditions and hold her boss responsible. While the suit is pending, her employer cannot cut her hours or in any way retaliate against Sue for exercising her rights.
Sex – It is unlawful to discriminate against someone based on their sex. This also covers employees and applicants who are transgender, of a certain sexual identity, or of a certain sexual orientation.
Without question, the law can be complex. But what all employers and employees should know is that there are both federal laws and Maryland state laws that protect employees and prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who fall into a number of different protected classes, including age, disability, genetic status, marital status, national origin, race, sex, and sexual orientation – just to name a few. There are multiple statutes that offer these protections and apply to employers in a number of ways, depending upon the particular circumstances involved.
While a lawyer can help guide you toward a more thorough understanding of the law itself, it is important to know that employers who commit discrimination can face a number of consequences, including financial liability. On the other side of the coin, employees and applicants who have been discriminated against may be entitled to financial compensation and restitution under the law for the harm caused by the employer. To understand your rights and responsibilities more thoroughly, it is essential to seek counsel from an experienced Columbia discrimination lawyer, like the team at Smithey Law Group LLC, that understands the legal complexities involved.
Have You Been Discriminated Against?
In our society today, we have, in some ways, made valuable strides toward reducing discrimination. Unfortunately, plenty of it still exists. While we all deserve to be valued for who we are and for what makes us unique, this is simply still not the reality in many workplaces today. Being discriminated against is painful and difficult. When and if this happens to you, you should not feel that you are without recourse. If you believe that you have been the victim of illegal discrimination in your workplace, call us. Together, we can look closely at your circumstances, talk about your goals, and create a strategy to best pursue and protect your rights. There are a number of avenues available to seek a legal remedy, depending upon your circumstances. Together, we will find the solution that fits your needs. At Smithey Law Group LLC, our proven Columbia discrimination lawyers would be honored to represent you as you work toward achieving that fulfilling and healthy work experience that you deserve.
Have You Been Accused of Discrimination?
Without question, all claims of discrimination should be thoroughly and seriously considered. While many (and in fact most) claims are valid, the truth of the matter is that some claims are, in fact, falsely made. In these cases, a defense is deserved. At Smithey Law Group LLC, we have the experience and knowledge to provide that defense on your behalf. In other circumstances, you may be an employer who is interested in taking preventative measures. Perhaps you have a healthy work environment and you wish to keep it that way. If so, we applaud you and would be honored to work with you to provide legal advice for the implementation and development of workplace policies that discourage discrimination and other negative unwanted behaviors.
We Are Here for You. You Need A Skilled Columbia Discrimination Attorney
Attorney Joyce Smithey and the team at Smithey Law Group LLC are seasoned experts in the field of employment discrimination law. We understand the intricacies of the law, and we understand the best strategies to employ in order to seek the results that you deserve. We are a proud part of the Columbia community, and we pride ourselves on our reputation for providing only the highest quality representation to our clients. We have worked hard to achieve excellence in our field, and we would be honored to put that experience to work on your behalf. If you are an employer or employee in Columbia, MD, and in need of legal representation, give us a call today. We represent our clients in the following types of legal matters:
- Compliance and Claim Prevention
- Employment Contract Matters
- Equal Pay Act Violations
- ERISA Matters
- Medical Leave Issues
- Retaliation and Reprisal
- Sexual Harassment
- Wage and Hour Issues
- WARN Act Violations
- Workplace Privacy
- Wrongful Discharge
Our dedicated Columbia discrimination attorneys look forward to hearing your story and learning what we may be able to do to protect your rights under the law. We look forward to speaking with you soon.