Direct and Indirect Employment Discrimination Claims

Every year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles thousands of employment discrimination claims. Yet for every claim the EEOC handles and resolves, there are probably two or three others that the EEOC refuses to accept.

Much of this gap is related to staffing. The EEOC is a rather small government agency with limited resources. Politics play a role as well. The EEOC generally only accepts claims which jive with its political agenda, whatever its agenda might be at that particular time.

So, if you have an employment discrimination claim and the EEOC refuses to act on it, that refusal does not mean your claim is weak or invalid. That refusal simply gives you a chance to partner with a Kansas City employment discrimination lawyer who is dedicated to you, as opposed to a philosophical agenda.

Protected Employment Classes

The 1964 Civil Rights Act sets forth a number of protected classifications. These classifications are so broad that pretty much every worker in the Kansas City area belongs to at least one of them. Some of these protected classes include:

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation

The Supreme Court recently expanded the sexual orientation category to include gender identity.

The law also protects certain activities, mostly with regard to labor organization. Some examples include trying to form a union, sympathizing with a union, and discussing working conditions with fellow employees.

Disparate Treatment Bias

Some employers ignore the Civil Rights Act and treat different employees differently simply because they are different. Unequal leave time is a good example. Many companies have generous maternity leave policies, but limited paternity leave.

Generally, financial compensation is quite high in these cases. Jurors are often anxious to punish employers who flaunt the law and intentionally discriminate.

There is a difference between intentional and malicious. Let’s return to the previous example. Most employers do not look down upon fathers or feel their contributions are unnecessary. However, different leave policies is clearly disparate treatment discrimination.

Disparate Impact

Other employment discrimination is indirect. Some employers have policies which disproportionately affect people in protected classes.

A mandatory Saturday policy is a good example. Among many religions, Saturdays are holy days. Affected employees can usually find someone to switch shifts with or make other accommodations. But employers must accommodate employees, and not the other way around.

As a side note, religious beliefs do not need to be orthodox or even widely held to be protected. They only must be sincere.

Job bias comes in many forms. For a free consultation with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer in Kansas City, contact the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.

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