For the year 2013, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 93,727 job discrimination charges with retaliation (38,539 cases), race discrimination (33,068 cases), sex discrimination, including pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment (27,687 cases), and discrimination based on disability (25,957 cases) as the top four cited bases for the charges.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the federal government’s law enforcement agency on matters concerning workplace discrimination, was formed by the US Congress in 1964 for the purpose of enforcing the mandates of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This Act was passed to specifically illegalize discrimination in all the aspects of employment, which include hiring, promotion, wages, fringe benefits, job training, firing, referral, etc., on the basis of race, national origin, color, sex or religion.
After its passing into law, amendments were made to Title VII to extend the protection it provided to those not directly specified in the original draft. Some of these amendments included the inclusion of “sex-stereotyping” of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals as discriminatory acts (based on sex) and, therefore, illegal; the transgender status and gender identity were, likewise, added in the list of protected classes in 2012.
Aside from enforcing anti-employment discrimination laws, EEOC also has the authority either to intercede and resolve discrimination complaints even before conducting an investigation or to file a discrimination suit against an employer (on behalf of the victim). Most of the laws enforced by EEOC offer compensatory and punitive damages to victims, especially if the discriminatory acts are found to be intentional. The monetary damages are meant to compensate for present and future financial losses, mental anguish and the inconvenience suffered by the victim. Punitive damages, however, are only included in cases wherein reckless indifference or malice is proven to be behind the discriminatory acts.
On its website, the law firm Cary Kane, mentions all the possible bases of discrimination in the workplace, explains the legal options available for the victim of discrimination or harassment, and mentions the necessity of being represented by a knowledgeable and experienced Labor and Employment lawyer due to the complexity of the employment law. Having a dependable lawyer will also keep the victim from worrying about the required documents that need to be prepared and submitted and the filing of the discrimination charge (first with the EEOC prior to an actual lawsuit) within the statutory limit.Read More