Harassment and discrimination are never acceptable, but even less so in the workplace. Every North Carolina employee should feel safe in their work environment. Inappropriate behavior targeted at a specific person or class of people may constitute legally actionable discrimination.
Discrimination should never be tolerated, but it often is, especially when workers are unaware of their rights.
Employees around the state are treated differently because of factors such as their religious beliefs, the color of their skin, their gender, and other reasons that have nothing to do with their performance in the workplace. This type of treatment is illegal under both North Carolina and federal law.
Taking Action Against Workplace Discrimination
Workplace discrimination can affect both current employees and job applicants. If you believe you have been discriminated against, it is important to seek counsel from workplace discrimination lawyers in Charlotte, NC. In taking action, you can help stop the cycle of discrimination and potentially receive compensation for what you have endured.
The experienced team at EMP Law specializes in supporting North Carolina employees against wrongful acts in the workplace and can help you navigate the complex legal system. Call us to schedule a case consultation.
North Carolina and Federal Workplace Discrimination Laws
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal employment discrimination laws.
In all 50 states, federal law makes it illegal to discriminate against current or potential employees based on the following:
- National origin,
- Sexual orientation,
- Age (40 and older),
- Citizenship status, and
- Genetic information.
North Carolina also has state-specific discrimination laws under the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act (EEPA) and other state statutes.
If you are not sure whether you fall into one of these protected classes, a discrimination attorney in Charlotte can help you find certainty.
Do I Have a Workplace Discrimination Case in Charlotte?
There are some exceptions to which employers are subject to anti-discrimination laws. Federal laws apply to all North Carolina employers with 15 or more employees.
Exceptions to this rule include:
- Age discrimination—applies to employers with 20 or more employees.
- Equal pay for men and women—applies to all employers.
Discrimination can come in many forms, and unfortunately, it is not always easy to prove. Ensure that you keep any documentation of discriminatory acts and reach out to an experienced discrimination lawyer in Charlotte, NC, to have the best chances of pursuing a claim.
How Do I File a Claim for Workplace Discrimination in North Carolina?
Your first step in the process of finding justice for the discrimination you have endured is to file a complaint with the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings, Civil Rights Division (OAH/CRD) if you are a state employee. Otherwise, you should file a claim with the EEOC.
It is important to note that you need to file within 180 days from the discriminatory act you are claiming. The EEOC will review the charge and conduct an investigation.
Their analysis of the situation will define the next steps, which could include:
- The EEOC will decide they do not have the resources to pursue further action and will send you a “Notice of Right to Sue,” which permits you to file a federal lawsuit.
- The EEOC believes discrimination occurred and will attempt mediation or conciliation between you and your employer to reach a settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, the EEOC will file a lawsuit or provide a “Notice of Right to Sue.”
- The EEOC investigation is taking a long time. After 180 days from the date the investigation began, you can request a “Notice of Right to Sue.”
If you receive a “Right to Sue” letter, you have 90 days to file a lawsuit in state or federal court. If you wait beyond this 90-day window, you will have forfeited this right.
When to Hire Workplace Discrimination Lawyers in Charlotte, NC
Experienced discrimination lawyers in Charlotte can help you determine whether you have a discrimination claim before you file. This is a good place to start. If you choose to file on your own, consider seeking counsel during the mediation process, should that be an option. It is very likely that your employer will have legal representation.
If you receive a “Notice of Right to Sue,” do not hesitate to find professional legal counsel. There are a lot of big decisions to be made, including the best place to file your case and the best strategy for a good outcome.
The team at EMP Law has a proven record of success for employment-related issues, including workplace discrimination. Discrimination should never be tolerated. We are here to help.
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