Workplace Discrimination: Can You Privately Sue Your Employer?

29 August 2017
 Categories: Law, Blog


Being discriminated against in the workplace is a very upsetting occurrence. It can be especially bad if you feel as if you have been retaliated against because you spoke up or someone spoke up on your behalf.

If you have suffered from discrimination in the workplace, you may be wondering if you can do something to hold your employer accountable for these actions. The good news is that there are very strong laws in place that protect employees from discrimination in the workplace, both on the state and federal levels. The following are some things you should know if you have ever been a target of workplace discrimination:

Know Your Rights

While there are many labor laws protecting you from being discriminated against at work, it is important that you are sure of your rights. There are a lot of regulations in place to protect you, but going through it all can seem overwhelming. If discrimination happens, you need to either visit your human resources department or your attorney (or both) to find out what your next step is so that you can move forward.

Suing Your Employer

Many may ask whether or not they may sue an employer for discrimination. The answer is yes, you can sue. However, your ability to do so may initially be limited. In many states, there is no private right of action. It is the responsibility of the state to enforce its laws, although it is best that you file a complaint. You can also complain on a federal level, but it can still be hard to file a private discrimination lawsuit also.

In order to successfully sue an employer for discrimination, you will need to file an official complaint with the EEOC. They will do an investigation to see if the law has been broken on the part of your employer. They may find it necessary to move forward with a discrimination case, but they may not. Either way, however, you will not be allowed to file any private lawsuits until you get a notice of right-to-sue from the EEOC. You will get this notice if your complaint is dismissed.

You may get a notice of right-to-sue before the investigation is complete under some circumstances. The EEOC must legally give you notice after a certain period of time has passed after filing your complaint. Prior to that time, they can provide notice when they feel it is necessary.

Contact a civil litigation lawyer for more information and assistance.