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An Overview of Title VII’s Workplace Protections

Published on Nov 2, 2018 at 5:33 pm in Employment Law.

Workers in the U.S. are entitled to rights that protect them from unfair discrimination and harassment. For many marginalized groups, discrimination could prevent career opportunities, fair pay, and benefits of the job. Thankfully, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes Title VII, a monumental part of the law that prevents certain forms of discrimination in the workplace. Employers who have fifteen (15) or more employees are generally subject to Title VII. But sometimes, despite the law, some employers make discriminatory decisions. If this has happened to you in Arkansas, an employment lawyer from McMath Woods P.A. can help you with your claim.

We believe in upholding the rights of the citizens in Arkansas. Everyone deserves to have a fair chance to obtain and retain the particular job she seeks and for which she is qualified. Those who make unjust decisions based on characteristics protected under Title VII need to be held accountable for their unlawful actions.

What Is Included in Title VII?

Title VII creates equal opportunities for everyone. Success is based on merit and employers with prejudices cannot deny or terminate employment because of those prejudices or hold employees back from advancement in the workplace.

With Title VII, your employment cannot be affected by the following:

  • Gender/Sex. This applies to gender and possibly sexual orientation. Employers can’t favor one gender over the other or discriminate against an employee based on her gender.
  • Race/Color. People cannot be treated differently based on their race or skin color.
  • Religion. An employer has to make accommodations within reason for a person’s religious beliefs or practices, but not to the point where it would cause an unnecessary burden for the business.
  • National Origin. People cannot be discriminated against based on their country of origin or ancestry.
  • Pregnancy. An employer cannot discriminate against a woman because of her pregnancy or birth of the child.

The above factors cannot influence employment-related decisions. Employment covers a broad range of actions, so let’s look at the particular facets of employment likely to give rise to a discrimination claim. Under Title VII, discrimination based on the protected characteristics cannot affect any of the following:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Pay
  • Compensation
  • Employee Classification
  • Promotions, Transfers, Layoffs
  • Job Advertisements
  • Recruitment
  • Testing
  • Using Company Facilities
  • Training Programs
  • Fringe Benefits (Company Cars, Health Insurance, etc.)
  • Salary
  • Retirement
  • Leave

Title VII and Harassment

Harassment, like discrimination, is also prohibited under Title VII. Whenever someone harasses another employee based on a protected characteristic, he is violating Title VII and the action is unlawful. The primary forms of unlawful harassment that occur in the workplace are gender or sex and race. Title VII also prohibits harassment based on gender/sex, pregnancy, race, religion, and national origin.

When harassment is ongoing or creates a hostile work environment, it’s unlawful and cannot continue. There are two (potentially intertwined) forms of sexual harassment, namely quid pro quo and hostile environment.  Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a supervisor explicitly or implicitly offers to give or take away something, such as a raise, promotion or continued employment, from a subordinate employee in exchange for her participation in a sexual act with the supervisor. Hostile environment harassment involves the treatment of the victim that creates a sufficiently severe or pervasive workplace that interferes with her ability to work.

Have Your Title VII Rights Been Violated?

There are important steps to take if you have a Title VII claim and would like to pursue it. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is a federal governmental agency, is where you must file your initial complaint, known at the EEOC as a “charge.” If the matter is not resolved at the EEOC stage, you can file a lawsuit in court against your employer. While you don’t necessarily need an attorney to go through the EEOC process, having one by your side will help strengthen your claim and properly prepare your case against an employer.

Like many claims, an employment claim has a statute of limitations or strict deadline by which you must take legal action. There’s a relatively short one for discriminatory behavior—180 days or approximately six months from the date when the discrimination happened. For example, if your employer gives you notice on January 1 that your employment will end on April 1 you will have 180 days from January 1 to file a charge with the EEOC. It’s best to start your claim as soon as possible so you’re not rushed and you have time to compile evidence of what happened. You and your witnesses also will remember the details more clearly and will be able to give a more accurate account of the incident.

You may feel uncomfortable with filing a harassment claim because of retaliation, but the law prohibits negative action against you for reporting harassment or discrimination or filing a charge with the EEOC. You are protected by the law and have every right to stand up for yourself when you are the victim of discrimination or harassment.

Get Help from a Little Rock Employment Lawyer

If you believe you have been discriminated against or are the victim of harassment and your Title VII rights have been violated, you can take a stand. The lawyers from McMath Woods P.A. are dedicated to providing the best legal services to our clients. We understand how difficult and perhaps intimidating it can be to file a claim against your current or former employer, but we’ll be with you every step of the way and will do everything we can to get a favorable result.

Contact our offices today to set up a consultation.

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