Are There Differences Between Federal and State Laws on Workplace Discrimination?

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If you feel like you have been discriminated against at work, you have legal options. If you are at all confused about which laws might apply to you or your employer, that is completely understandable. That is precisely why you should schedule a consultation with a Chesterfield County age discrimination attorney. An experienced lawyer can tell you more about your options and which state and federal laws could be relevant.

How Does Federal Workplace Discrimination Law Work?

Federal workplace discrimination laws are primarily meant to protect people from mistreatment based on certain traits. Companies are not allowed to discriminate against employees or potential employees based on:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • National origin
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Race

If someone believes that their employer is discriminating against them, they can file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This agency handles such matters and holds companies accountable if they are in violation of discrimination laws.

There are two important things to note though. First, you must complete the EEOC’s claim process within 180 days of the discrimination occurring (which can be extended to 300 days in certain instances). Second, most federal laws against discrimination only apply to companies that have more than 15 or more than 20 employees.

Does Virginia Have Its Own State Laws?

Some states let the federal government handle the anti-discrimination laws, but others put forth their own laws and regulations that can better protect employees. Virginia is in the latter category. It even has its own agency to report workplace discrimination to, the Virginia Division of Human Rights. State residents can file claims with either this state agency or the federal EEOC when they experience workplace discrimination, or both.

Virginia also adds some protected classes. State laws also prevent employers from discriminating based on:

  • Gender identity
  • Veteran status
  • Marital status
  • Ethnic hairstyles

Most of the state’s anti-discrimination laws apply to any employer with 15 or more workers.

Do I Need an Employment Attorney When Federal or State Laws Are Broken?

You can report a workplace issue to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Virginia Division of Human Rights yourself.

Filing a convincing claim actually takes a lot of work. If you file a claim on your own and it’s incomplete or not compelling enough, neither agency will start an investigation. This means that you will miss your chance to hold an employer accountable for their actions.

An employment lawyer cannot guarantee that your claim will be investigated and that you will prevail in your case. You can be sure that our firm’s attorney will do everything that he can to craft a convincing claim. We really recommend that you rely on the experience of a legal professional instead of going it alone.

Contact Our Law Firm

Our law firm is here to help when you have suffered workplace discrimination. So contact Passero Employment Law and schedule your consultation. Now is the time to learn more about your legal options and what a seasoned employment lawyer can do for you.

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