Discrimination

We Fight For Federal Employees Who Have Been Affected By Discrimination

The law prohibits discrimination in employment that is based on race, sex, age, religion, national origin, disability, or reprisal for prior EEO activity. This includes sexual harassment, and creating or allowing a work atmosphere that is hostile to those of a particular protected class of employees. Your federal employee lawyer from Brown and Goodkin will know how to handle your discrimination case from start to finish, ensuring an expedient and appropriate process for your claim.

The federal government, like all employers in the United States, is legally prohibited from discriminating against employees and applicants for employment based on the individual’s race, sex, age, disability, and/or prior discrimination complaint(s). These categories contain subcategories as well. For example, under disability discrimination it is illegal to discriminate against a person who has a disability, who is perceived as having a disability, or who has a history of having a disability. Sex discrimination includes, for example, sexual harassment.

Several different federal statutes outlaw discrimination in employment. Chief among them are Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

The EEOC has primary jurisdiction over claims of discrimination in federal employment. There are special procedures that federal employees must follow to pursue a discrimination complaint. These procedures are generally described as follows. First, the employee must request EEO counseling within 45 calendar days of the event he or she feels was discriminatory. This initial “informal” complaint period should last approximately 30 days, after which the employee is given a “final interview” and advised what management’s initial response to his or her complaint was. At that time if the employee is not satisfied he or she is given the opportunity to file a “formal” complaint of discrimination within 15 days of receipt of the “final interview” letter. This “formal” investigation period lasts 6 months, during which an investigator will interview all concerned and write a report. At the end of this period the employee should be provided with the “investigative report” and advised whether management is offering any remedy. If not (which is usually the case), the employee is given the opportunity to file a request for a hearing at EEOC or to proceed to federal court on the complaint.

Hearings at EEOC are informal and are held before an administrative judge who only hears discrimination cases. Witnesses are called and cross-examined “just like on TV”. The judge issues a decision in writing at some time after the hearing has been completed.

If the employee is still not satisfied with the result obtained at EEOC, he or she can file a lawsuit in federal District Court to pursue the matter further.

Here are links to other relevant websites:

Federal employees must first seek EEO counseling at the office where they work, and then go through a “formal” EEO complaint process at their employing agency. Thereafter, if not satisfied with the employer’s response to the complaint, they may take their case to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or to the federal courts.

Disability – Do you feel that a disability has been the reason for your termination, the denial of a promotion you sought, or other employment disadvantage? An example would be: My boss knows I am a diabetic and need to take short breaks to check my blood sugar, but he puts me on assignments that make that impossible.

Age – Do you feel that you have been denied an employment benefit due to your age? If so, why? An example would be: My boss kept suggesting that I retire, and unfairly criticized my work as being “too slow” when I am the best worker in the office.

Sex – Do you feel that you have been denied promotion or other employee benefit due to gender or have been sexually harassed? An example would be: My supervisor kept asking me out for a date, but when he finally realized I wouldn’t he started giving me negative work performance appraisals.

Examples of cases that our lawyers have successfully litigated:

  • A female Postal employee was harassed by a coworker, resulting in lost work time and psychiatric care, but management did little to stop the harassment. We obtained a six-figure award at EEOC and, when the Postal Service refused to pay, we filed suit in federal court and settled the case for about the same amount.
  • A female Navy Department employee was harassed at work by her male subordinates, but management told her she “had to live with it” and gave male employees awards for work she had done. We filed suit in federal court and obtained a six-figure settlement.
  • Two TSA screeners were fired for false reasons, because each had been involved in a prior discrimination complaint. We pursued cases before EEOC and won reinstatement to their jobs, back pay, compensatory damages, and attorney fees.

Contact us for more information about how we can help you with your discrimination related issue.