The United States Justice Department ruled against a Georgia-based poultry company for employment discrimination against its noncitizen employees. According to federal attorneys, Mar-Jac Poultry violated federal employment discrimination laws when it demanded that all noncitizen employees of its business produce Department of Homeland Security documents that prove their right to work in the country. They did not request the same documents from its citizen employees. Under federal law, it is illegal for an employer to subject employees to unnecessary document demands based on their country of origin. Mar-Jac Poultry must pay $190,000 in civil fines, $1,020 to a refugee that failed to show a work permit, and $24,000 in compensation to other affected employees.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits any employer from discriminating against their employees based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This Act protects all employees who work for a business that employs fifteen or more people for twenty or more weeks per year. Discrimination comes in many forms, including refusal to hire, unnecessary discipline, firing, denial of training, failure to promote, docking of pay or demotion, and harassment.
How to File a Complaint
The first thing you should do if you believe that you are being discriminated against is hire an experienced attorney to represent your interests against the employer and in court. The next step is to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which will investigate the claim. The investigation may take weeks or months to complete, depending on the severity of the charges. If the EEOC finds employment discrimination occurred, it will seek a settlement with the employer on the employee’s behalf or take the case to court. If the EEOC decides not to take the case it will send the employee a Notice of Right to Sue, which allows the employee to continue the case and file a lawsuit with the federal court. It is important to note that an employee cannot simply file a lawsuit in court. Federal law requires that the complaint be filed with the EEOC first, or else the matter is not allowed to continue through the legal process.
The statute of limitations, or window of time, you have to file an employment discrimination claim with the EEOC is notoriously short. An employee only has 180 days from the date that the discriminatory action occurred to file with the EEOC unless it is also covered by state law, in which case the statute of limitations is extended to three hundred days. For claims of employment discrimination in a federal agency, discrimination charges must be filed within 45 days.
Contact Our Office Today
If you believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace because of a protected characteristic, you may have a valid claim against your employer for employment discrimination. Call the office or contact us today at The Vaughn Law Firm in Decatur to schedule a free consultation of your employment discrimination claims.