There are several federal statutes that prohibit discrimination if a person is a member of a protected class. These statutes are:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and its amendments, prohibits employment discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older.
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in compensation for substantially similar work under similar conditions.
- The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990. It is considered the civil rights acts for persons with disabilities. It is modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Businesses must provide reasonable accommodations in all aspects of employment to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.
- Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on genetic information in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment. Genetic information includes information about genetic tests of applicants, employees, or their family members; the manifestation of diseases or disorders in family members (family medical history); and requests for or receipt of genetic services by applicants, employees, or their family members.
All of these Federal laws prohibit covered entities from retaliating against an employee for pursuing their rights under this litigation or simply because they are a member of the protected class. Wrongful termination is a form of retaliation. These laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (EEOC)
What to do if You are Terminated
- If you are terminated or are about to be terminated because discrimination you should:
- Not take any negative or destructive acts against your employer
- Familiarize yourself with the terms of your employment contract if you have one
- Inquire about the reasons for your discharge and get them in writing if possible
- Return any company property and follow all post employment procedures
- Review your personnel file
- Request and negotiate a severance package if appropriate, and get it in writing
- Find out if possible who made the decision to hire you
- Consult a lawyer specializing in employment law
Do You Need a Lawyer?
There are strict timelines to follow in pursuing a claim for employment discrimination, which would include wrongful termination. You should contact the EEOC immediately when you feel your rights may have been violated. Additionally, if you feel you have been wrongfully terminated, consult a lawyer who specializes in employment law. They can advise you on the strength or weakness of your case, give you information about what you need to prove your case.
Termination of employment because of your race, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability, or genetic information is discrimination and illegal under federal and state law. The EEOC enforces the various laws relating to employment and discrimination. There are strict timelines involved in pursing your rights under these laws. Consult competent legal counsel to assist you.