Being discriminated against in the workplace based on race is a horrible experience. If you think that your employer has unlawfully discriminated against you, you might not know how to handle the issue. While racial discrimination in the workplace has been illegal for more than half a century, it is still a pervasive issue in companies across the U.S. For example, studies have shown that people whose names are associated with being Black are less likely to be called for interviews than those whose names are associated with being white. If you believe your employer has engaged in illegally discriminatory behavior based on your race, you can pursue a race discrimination claim. Here is some information from the employment discrimination lawyers at Swartz Swidler about how to file a race discrimination lawsuit to hold your employer accountable.
How to File a Race Discrimination Lawsuit
Filing a racial discrimination lawsuit in New Jersey requires you to complete multiple steps. It’s important to understand how to take action when you have been the victim of racial discrimination at your job. Here are the steps you need to complete.
1. Gather Evidence
The first step you should take is to gather evidence to help show your employer engaged in racial discrimination against you. Most employers don’t take overtly discriminatory actions. Even if you don’t have direct evidence that your employer discriminated against you based on your race, you can still gather evidence that helps to create an inference of racial discrimination. Collect emails, text messages, and other documents that help to bolster your claim. Document the dates of each discriminatory act, what occurred, and the people who were present. Get copies of your performance evaluations, and keep all of your evidence together in a safe place away from work.
2. File an Internal Complaint
Before you file a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state agency, you should first try to resolve your discrimination dispute internally within your company. File a complaint in writing with your company’s human resources department to give your employer notice about what occurred and provide the company with an opportunity to investigate and correct the problem. Keep a copy of the complaint you filed with your company. Include details about what happened, and request a response by a certain date.
3. Determining Eligibility and Completing Forms
Before you can file a lawsuit against your employer, you must first file a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state’s related agency. The EEOC requires you to submit an online inquiry with the agency and complete an intake interview to determine your eligibility. You must also have provided notice to your employer and allowed it to investigate and respond to your discrimination complaints. If the agency determines you are eligible, you will need to complete some forms and provide some details about your employer, you, and details of the discrimination you experienced. When you complete these forms, you should keep copies for your records.
Once the EEOC receives your discrimination charge, it will investigate it. The agency can take several months to investigate your complaint. It might try to resolve your complaint against your employer through mediation. If the agency finds that your charge is warranted, it might either choose to file a lawsuit against your employer for you or provide you with a right-to-sue notice. The EEOC only chooses to take a small percentage of cases and provides right-to-sue notices to most complainants. If you receive a right to sue notice, this means that you have been granted leave to file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer in court.
5. Hiring a Racial Discrimination Lawyer
Since racial discrimination lawsuits are difficult to prove, it is a good idea for you to hire an experienced discrimination attorney to help you with your claim. You should look for an attorney who has extensive experience handling race discrimination lawsuits for plaintiffs. The lawyer you choose should understand both federal and state anti-discrimination laws and have experience representing plaintiffs in these types of complaints in both state and federal courts.
6. Filing a Racial Discrimination Lawsuit
After you receive a right-to-sue notice, you must file your lawsuit within 90 days. This makes it important for you to contact an attorney as soon as possible after you have experienced discrimination. Your lawyer can prepare your complaint and file it on your behalf when you receive a right-to-sue notice. The complaint is the initial legal document that must be filed to commence your lawsuit. Once you have filed your complaint, your employer will have time to file an answer.
After the complaint and answer have been filed, your case will move into the discovery phase. During this phase, you and your employer will be required to share evidence. The discovery process can take months and might include depositions and interrogatories. Most cases will resolve before trial through settlements. However, if your case doesn’t reach a settlement agreement, you might have to take your employer to a trial to resolve your allegations.
Talk to Swartz Swidler
If your current or former employer discriminated against you based on your race, you should talk to the experienced lawyers at Swartz Swidler. We can help you understand your rights and guide you through each step of the process. Contact us today at 856-685-7420.