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Employment Discrimination Blog

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Employment Discrimination in Georgia: A Quick Overview of Your Rights

Employment law in Georgia and the U.S. as a whole is highly complex, so it’s understandable that employees most often have only a generalized understanding of their rights. Questions and comments such as  “That’s illegal”, “I wish they’d handled this differently” and “Can they do that?” are regularly heard on the job. Accurate and detailed information, though, is needed to fully understand whether one’s legal rights have truly been violated. 

One area of employment law that involves frequent legal violations is discrimination law. This is because U.S. law clearly states that employees must be treated equally and fairly in regard to their:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Age 
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • National origin
  • Personal bankruptcy history

Other classes of people that are protected from employment discrimination in many jurisdictions include gays and lesbians, the unemployed and people living with HIV/AIDS; people are also protected from discrimination due to marital status in many locales. 

What Employer Actions Are Barred and Mandated Via Anti-Discrimination Laws?

In many jurisdictions, employers can fire employees because of body piercings, hair styles, style of dress and countless other issues that may seem highly irrelevant to job performance. Employers cannot, however, treat employees differently just because they are a man or a woman, because they’re “too old”, because they’re from a specific country, because they’re black, white, Asian or another race, or because they’re disabled. They also can’t treat an employee differently because he or she has at any point in life filed for bankruptcy. Specific actions employers are barred from under anti-discrimination laws include:

  • Firings/termination
  • Failing to provide fair job and shift assignments
  • Harassment
  • Failing to compensate equally
  • Limiting advancement opportunities
  • Failing to pay overtime pay
  • Failing to allow rest and lunch breaks

What Does a Typical Successful Discrimination Lawsuit Look Like?

When possible discrimination occurs in the workplace, it’s important stop guessing whether a legal violation occurred and to seek legal help. 

Discrimination can occur overtly or covertly. An overt action may involve an employer stating that an older individual is being demoted to “make way for young, fresh ideas”. Another example of overt discrimination is a demand for sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or continued employment. Covert discrimination could include long-term failure to promote a female or minority individual despite a demonstrable ability and stated desire to advance. 

Either way, it makes sense to contact an experienced employment law attorney for counsel. An employment law attorney can:

  • Meet with you to discuss your concerns
  • Condct an investigation to determine whether discrimination occurred
  • Determine the extent of your loss
  • Negotiate and litigate with your employer for the financial compensation you deserve and are legally owed

Without legal assistance, your employer will likely be unwilling to admit that discrimination occurred or to offer compensation. If your employer is willing to settle a claim without the involvement of an anti-discrimination attorney, it may be doing so to avoid a larger payout down the road. By working with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, you can help ensure a fair outcome and, hopefully, the prevention of further discrimination. 


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The attorneys of Pankey & Horlock, LLC serve the entire state of Georgia, including Atlanta, Alpharetta, Auburn, Decatur, Doraville, Douglasville, Duluth, Kennesaw, Lawrenceville, Marietta, Stone Mountain, Dekalb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, and Cobb County, GA.



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