When you apply for a job, you are protected from being discriminated against based on your protected characteristic under state and federal law. Equal opportunity anti-discrimination laws prohibit employers from discriminating against people in all aspects of employment, including the recruitment and hiring process. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler are able to review what happened in your case to determine whether an employer engaged in unlawful discrimination against you.
Anti-discrimination laws protect you from discrimination based on a protected characteristic, including the following:
- Age if older than 40
- National origin
- Genetic information
These protections cover all aspects of employment, including the hiring process. If an employer passes over you because of your protected characteristic, you may file a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state’s related agency.
Purpose of equal opportunity laws
Anti-discrimination laws exist to ensure that all people have an equal opportunity in the employment market but don’t guarantee that you will always receive an equal outcome. These laws aim at helping members of protected classes who have experienced discrimination in the past to enjoy job opportunities based on their qualifications rather than on their characteristics. Job applicants are protected during the following employment processes:
- Pre-employment tests and screening
- Employment terms, privileges and conditions
Filing a charge
If you believe that an employer wrongfully discriminated against you when you applied for a job based on a protected characteristic, you are able to file a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state’s related anti-discrimination agency. It is important to understand that federal anti-discrimination laws only cover employers with 15 or more employees for all types of discrimination other than age discrimination. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act covers employers with 20 or more employees. If the discrimination happened at an employer in New Jersey, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination applies to all employers no matter their sizes.
The EEOC requires that discrimination charges must be filed with it no later than 180 days after the discrimination occurred. It is important for you to seek help from an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible after you have been the victim of unlawful discrimination so that you can preserve your legal rights. Contact Swartz Swidler today to schedule your consultation.