Can You Pursue a Workplace Discrimination Claim and Keep Your Job?
Our Ohio employment law clients sometimes tell us that they feel like they waited too long to file a workplace discrimination lawsuit because they feared retaliation and/or losing their job. People suffer for months or years because of the belief that speaking up and demanding justice may put them in a more uncomfortable position.
Sadly, this concern can be justified. Managers and supervisors frequently retaliate against workers who report unfair, unequal and illegal treatment. It is important to know that this type of retaliation is illegal.
Knowing how to navigate your workplace after filing a Charge of Discrimination or lawsuit can give you peace of mind and an understanding of how to handle retaliation, if you experience any. Taking the proper steps when collecting evidence and reporting incidents will also increase the chances that the employer will be held accountable for allowing or encouraging discrimination.
Make Sure You Have an Actionable Complaint
Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination against employees and job applicants on the basis of the following protected classes:
- National origin,
- Sexual orientation,
- Gender identity,
- Age when older than 40,
- Military service or veteran status, and
- Genetic information.
As a legal matter, workplace discrimination can take many forms.. First, it can involve denying an individual job opportunities, fair pay, or benefits based on their race, sex, age, or other legally protected characteristic, like those listed above.
A second type of workplace discrimination creates a hostile workplace. Mistreatment or abuse that is so severe and which occurs frequently that the victim fears for their safety or finds it difficult to do their job definitely gives grounds for filing a workplace discrimination lawsuit. This type of harassment or treatment MUST be based on one of the protected classes above. Bullying, generally, is not illegal in Ohio.
Discrimination can also exist pursuant to specific federal and Ohio laws that protect employees. For instance, the federal statute that protects military veterans from discrimination, USERRA, makes it illegal for employers to give away National Guard members’ jobs when the Guardsmen are called up to serve on active duty. Another law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), requires employers to consider, in good faith, an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation such as longer breaks or permission to use adaptive equipment. There are a lot of examples so please consult with an employment lawyer about your specific situation.
Consulting with an Ohio employee rights lawyer when you believe you are suffering workplace discrimination will help you understood if you have grounds for filing a complaint and, if necessary, pursuing a lawsuit. Speaking with an attorney will also allow you to receive guidance on collecting solid evidence to support your claim.
Prepare to Share Well-Organized Evidence
Properly managing a workplace discrimination lawsuit while keeping your job starts long before you actually file any documents with a court. The first step toward a lawsuit will be submitting a formal complaint about discrimination to the human resources department or a trusted supervisor. Doing this legally obligates your employer to conduct a thorough investigate and to try to resolve the issue.
Approaching HR or a supervisor with documents in hand and support from coworkers who can corroborate your story will help ensure that your claim receives the attention it deserves. The emails, notes, voicemail messages and witness statements you gather at the start of this process will also provide a strong foundation for more detailed investigations down the line.
When discrimination persists or when the employer does not meet its legal duties, it is time to take the complaint to a federal or state agency that exists to enforce employee rights. This is often the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but another agency may need to be contacted, like the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
A lawsuit would follow the process used by the government agency to look into and make a determination about your case. An employment law attorney can guide you as to where to direct your complaint and also offer assistance with preparing it.
Know Your Rights to Work Free From Retaliation
You may worry about retaliation after you file a workplace discrimination complaint and/or commit to pursuing a lawsuit. Do know, however, that you have legal protections against things such as being demoted, denied raises and promotions, subjected to verbal or physical abuse, and termination.
Each of the laws that prohibit workplace discrimination also make it illegal for an employer to punish workers who engage in protected activity. When an employer retaliates anyway, that can be added to the lawsuit.
Hiring an Ohio employee rights attorney to advise and represent you can help keep your employer in check. There are no guarantees but getting a lawyer involved will make it clear to managers and supervisors that their actions could have serious consequences.
Attorneys with The Friedmann Firm offer free and confidential consultations to victims of workplace discrimination in Ohio. We have offices in Columbus and Cincinnati, and we take cases throughout the state. Learn how we may be able to help you by calling 614.610.9755 or connecting with us online.
Rachel was absolutely amazing. As an attorney she really took the time to really listen to my concerns. She was honest and kept me informed every step of the way. The outcome was favorable on my behalf and I appreciate her efforts to achieve a good outcome. I would highly recommend her and the Friedmann firm to represent me if ever needed in future.
Working with Rachel Sabo from Friedmann Firm was absolutely amazing! She upholds integrity, honesty and without a doubt fights for what is right! Rachel was extremely transparent and real! Please don’t let wrong be right, Rachel will strive to advocate and put her whole heart in obtaining resolve in your situation! What an absolute blessing, she won my case in less than 1 week💪
My experience with the Friedmann Firm is an absolute 5 stars. From my very first call with Karen, to all of my communication with Rachel, everything exceeded all of my expectations. Rachel and Karen were so caring and understanding in a very sensitive situation. They responded immediately to any questions or concerns I had. I would HIGHLY recommend the Friedmann Firm. They are caring, professional, understanding, and I would trust them with any issue I have in the future.
Rachel and the Friedmann Firm were fantastic to work with. The thought of needing an employment lawyer was scary for me, it was confusing and complex. But Rachel listened, asked questions and took time to really understand me and my priorities. I felt calm, supported and excited for the first time in weeks after talking to her!! We worked together to review everything, set expectations and meet my priorities! Thanks Rachel and team for all your work!!!
Rachel Friedmann of the Friedman Firm was my attorney for a very recent legal matter. I would highly recommend Rachel based on her legal knowledge, her honest appraisal of the matter and expected outcomes, her open communication and timely responses to my questions and the matter itself, and her steadfastness in dealing with the opposing counsel until a final agreement was reached.
Rachel and her staff went over and above the call of duty to help me achieve fiscal resolution to my legal issue. She wasn’t always available to talk but was always responsive via text and email when in court out of the office and even on vacation. I feel she earned her percentage cut.
Couldn’t be happier with the representation I received from Jamie Bailey on my civil litigation case. She worked tirelessly to resolve the case and in the end negotiated a fair settlement on my behalf. I would highly recommend her to anyone! Thanks for everything Friedman law firm.
Friedman Firm was a great help in a difficult time in my life. They went above and beyond to get me back on track. Rachel was so good to work with and is extremely knowledgeable about the law and employment rights. Can't thank them enough for all there hard work. Highly recommend them to anyone.
The Friedmann Firm (specifically Pete Friedmann) represented me through what seemed like a never ending employment discrimination suit. The suit was filed just before Covid shut everything down in 2020. Add to that a former employer who refused to admit fault. In spite of all of that, Pete stood resolute in his representation of me and working for the best outcome for me. We ended up settling prior to trial and I was more than satisfied with the results. Pete was always available to answer questions and reassure me throughout this process. I highly recommend The Friedmann Firm!
Pete Friedmann and his firm are fantastic. He represented me for more than a year going through a suit with a previous employer. He walked me through every step of the process and was always quick to respond to any questions I had. My settlement came in and we parted ways with both sides being pleased with the outcome. I highly recommend the Friedmann firm and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again in the future if the need arose. Thank you, Pete!
Rachel and the Friedmann Firm have been amazing to work with. Rachel was very helpful, listened to our concerns and took our case. She communicated well throughout and really worked for us. We were very well represented!
I loved working with The Friedmann Firm. Rachel and Jamie are exceptional lawyers and were diligent in reviewing my case and letting me know of my options. Jamie was extremely thorough and handled even the smallest details of my case with ease. The entire process was seamless and they were always quick to respond to emails and calls. I would definitely recommend working with The Friedmann Firm.
I would recommend Rachel Sabo Friedmann and the Friedmann firm for severance negotiations. Rachel was always available and responsive and made an effort to ensure I was updated on every step of the process. Her diligent efforts produced a prompt resolution and we are very happy with the results!