Can an employer fire an employee for any reason?
The majority of states have an “at will” employment doctrine, which basically states that both the employee and employer have the right to terminate the relationship at will. However, firing based on discrimination is illegal. If it can be shown that an employer terminated a worker because of his or her protected class status (race, color, creed, etc.), the employer may be forced to pay compensation. Also, retaliation — firing an employee for submitting a discrimination claim — is against the law.
Is a lawyer required to file a job discrimination claim?
You are not required by law to hire a job discrimination attorney to represent your claim. However, a skilled lawyer who knows the federal and state statutes can help you file in the most advantageous manner, investigate the employer in question, and gather evidence to help you seek a fair settlement. Your legal team can handle much of the administrative steps for you and keep your claim moving forward by meeting important deadlines. Since most job discrimination lawyers require no payment until a case is settled, you can attend a legal consultation and have your job discrimination questions answered with no risk involved.
Do job applicants have rights before being hired?
Yes. Job applicants have the right to fair treatment, and employers must abide by anti-discrimination laws even during the hiring process. Employers may not give preference to certain candidates because of their race or other protected class characteristics. Also, employers may not use any discriminatory language in job ads and cannot ask questions about ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other such personal attributes during hiring.
What does the EEOC do?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is responsible for enforcing the federal laws that prohibit discrimination. With field offices across the country, EEOC staff regularly investigates formal complaints of illegal job discrimination. Most instances of discrimination are first filed with the EEOC and must be submitted within 180 days after the illegal action. The EEOC could not possibly investigate every claim, so in some cases attorneys are able to get approval from the EEOC to bypass their process and head straight to a state court case. Hiring a job discrimination attorney may help you get a resolution quicker and seek compensation for the state laws that were violated in addition to the federal laws.
Can employers force employees to retire when they turn a certain age?
In most industries, age-related firing is illegal. Only select professions that demand employees maintain excellent physical condition to be effective, such as airline pilot, may enforce mandatory age limits.