| Read Time: 3 minutes | Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination in the Workplace—What You Should Know

We all know that discrimination in the workplace is unacceptable, and we all know that no federal employee should have to put up with it. However, not everyone knows that all kinds of discrimination are illegal. When most people imagine a discriminatory situation, they imagine racial minorities as the victims of racial “majorities.” They may be more accepting of discrimination when it operates in “reverse.” However, so-called reverse race discrimination is equally wrong and just as illegal as “regular” discrimination.  At this point, you might be asking yourself, What is reverse discrimination? In this article, we will discuss reverse discrimination’s definition and the situations which best describe reverse discrimination.  If you think that you are the victim of reverse race discrimination, contact a workplace discrimination lawyer right away.  What Is Reverse Discrimination? The definition of reverse race discrimination can be difficult to describe, and the term itself is controversial in some circles. The simplest definition is this—reverse discrimination occurs when a majority group is discriminated against by a minority group. Reverse race discrimination, for example, occurs in situations where historic racial minorities (like blacks or Hispanics) discriminate against white Americans based on their skin color.  The fact that the target of discrimination belongs to a majority group does not exclude them from the protection of workplace discrimination laws. Discrimination is discrimination. It does not matter whether the victim is white, black, Christian, Muslim, handicapped, or able-bodied. Workplace discrimination lawyers know that discrimination laws apply to all groups, and can help any victim of any form of discrimination.  Which of the Following Is an Example of Reverse Discrimination? Let’s consider a few examples of discrimination to understand which of the following situations constitute reverse discrimination: An African-American boss repeatedly harasses his white subordinate because of his race, uses racial slurs, and denies him a promotion because the subordinate is “way too white for this office”;  A woman repeatedly makes derogatory sex-based comments to her male co-worker, frequently derides him as “just another stupid man,” and tells him that a woman could do his job better; A Christian employee humiliates his Hindu colleague by trying to make him eat beef and telling him that his faith “has too many Gods.” Which of the following is an example of reverse discrimination in America? If you guessed the first two scenarios, you’d be correct. The first scenario was reverse race discrimination because a black man, a member of a racial minority, was discriminating against a white man based on race. Similarly, the second scenario also constituted reverse discrimination. Sex-based discrimination has historically targeted women, so reverse discrimination occurred because a woman was making condescending sex-based comments to a man. However, the third scenario was not reverse discrimination because Christianity is a majority religion in the United States. So while the Christian in that scenario was harassing and potentially discriminating against their Hindu coworker, that would constitute normal discrimination of a minority.  What Should I Do If I Am the Victim of Reverse Discrimination? Discrimination is discrimination no matter what the victim’s race, gender, or religion is. If you are experiencing reverse discrimination, consider taking the following actions: Tell the offender to stop, if you feel comfortable doing so; Record your interactions with the individual; Consult a supervisor about the problem if possible; and Go speak to someone in your agency’s EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) office. After you have taken these first steps, you need to consider hiring an attorney who handles cases of discrimination at work. Hiring an attorney for employment discrimination can help to resolve the reverse discrimination problem quickly. Furthermore, employment discrimination attorneys are familiar with all kinds of discrimination and can evaluate your case to see if you are eligible to obtain compensation. Finally, if you file a complaint against your agency, a federal employment workplace discrimination lawyer can help your case by collecting evidence, obtaining witnesses, and conducting settlement negotiations. Do You Need a Workplace Discrimination Attorney? Employment discrimination is always wrong, whether it is reverse discrimination or not. Now that you know reverse discrimination’s definition, you will know when to contact an employment discrimination attorney.  If you are currently experiencing such discrimination, you need an employment discrimination attorney right away. However, not all attorneys are of the same quality. Therefore, it is critical that you hire an attorney that has experience with your kind of case and is familiar with the unique features of the federal workplace.  Here at the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing PLLC, we are dedicated to helping federal employees stand up for their rights. Over the years, our firm has helped countless federal employees with all kinds of discrimination complaints. Unlike other law firms, we are familiar with all of the dynamics of the federal workplace. We will help you stand up for your rights and hold discriminatory actors accountable. Even if you don’t know whether you need an attorney, you have nothing to lose by setting up an appointment. All of our initial consultations are free, so contact us right away.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | Workplace Discrimination

Federal Hostile Work Environment–What to Know

Discrimination in the workplace is illegal under federal law. In some cases, it is clear your employer is discriminating against you. However, that is not always the case. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), discrimination is grossly underreported. In fact, the EEOC reports that three out of four employees who experience harassment on the job don’t do anything about it. While several factors contribute to this, one reason why employees don’t report discrimination is that they aren’t able to identify it.  A hostile work environment is when the hostile actions of a fellow employee or manager objectively create an intimidating or threatening work environment. If you believe you are experiencing discrimination at the workplace, reach out to the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC. Attorney Wersing is a federal hostile work environment attorney with extensive experience handling all types of employment discrimination matters. He has successfully represented countless clients in hostile work environment claims, helping them stop illegal discrimination in the workplace. What Makes a Hostile Work Environment? Under federal law, discrimination is illegal when it is based upon an employee’s protected trait. A hostile work environment is a type of harassment, which is included in the definition of discrimination. A hostile work environment claim is based on an employer allowing an intimidating environment to exist for one or more employees. Notably, it does not need to be a supervisor or a manager who creates a hostile work environment for an employer to be found liable. Hostile work environment claims can be filed when discrimination is based on any of the following traits: Age, Disability, Gender identity, Genetic information, National origin, Pregnancy, Race/Color, Religion, Sex, or Sexual orientation. At its core, a hostile work environment claim addresses the unacceptable situation where an employer allows severe or pervasive discrimination to take place on their watch. This “severe and pervasive” language is key, as minor annoyances or petty insults do not generally rise to the level of a hostile work environment. Typically, a one-time insult will not create a hostile work environment. However, if it is severe enough, it may. More often, hostile work environment claims are based on ongoing patterns of behavior. More specifically, the conduct must be such that a reasonable person would consider the conduct intimidating, hostile, or abusive. For example, the following can all contribute to a hostile work environment: Offensive jokes; Slurs or epithets; Ridicule or mockery; Insults; Physical threats; Name calling; Intimidation; The use of offensive objects; and The posting of offensive material. If you believe that your employer has allowed a hostile work environment to persist, reach out to a hostile work environment attorney for assistance. When Is an Employer Liable for Allowing a Hostile Work Environment? Hostile work environment claims come in two forms. The first type is when a manager, supervisor, or executive is the harassing party. In these situations, an employer is automatically liable if the harassment results in any negative employment outcome such as termination, lost wages, or a missed promotion. However, even if an employee does not suffer an adverse employment outcome, the employer will still be liable unless they can prove 1.) they tried to stop the harassing conduct, and 2.) the employee “unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.” The second type of hostile work environment claim involves a fellow employee’s harassing conduct. In these situations, it can be a bit harder to establish employer liability. To do so, you must show that the employer knew about the harassment (or should have known about it) and failed to take “prompt and corrective action.” For this reason, if you believe that you are being subjected to a hostile work environment, it is imperative that you register your concern with your employer. Not only will this allow your employer to remedy the situation, but it will also preserve your ability to file a federal hostile work environment claim against them if they fail to take your concerns seriously. Can an Employer Fire You for Reporting a Hostile Work Environment? Absolutely not. Employers are strictly prohibited from retaliating against an employee who reports any type of workplace discrimination, including a hostile work environment. The strength of your case is not important. The mere fact that you raised the claim (even if it later turns out your employer was not liable) protects you from any retaliation. If an employer retaliates against you for bringing a possible hostile work environment to their attention, you should immediately consult with a lawyer for hostile work environment claims. Contact a Federal Hostile Work Environment Lawyer for Immediate Assistance No one should live in fear of getting up and going to work. If your supervisors or colleagues are discriminating against you, you need hostile work environment attorneys who are ready to stand up for your rights. At the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, we proudly represent federal employees in all types of employment law disputes, including those involving hostile work environment claims against their federal employing agency. We have extensive experience bringing cases against all federal agencies across the country, and we are prepared to go up against them to preserve your right to a workplace free of hostility and discrimination. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a federal hostile work environment attorney today, give us a call. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 4 minutes | Federal EEOC

Overview of Federal EEOC Complaint Process

No matter what your job is, you may encounter discrimination in the workplace during your career. There are several laws the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces that protect federal employees from discrimination. But what is the federal EEOC complaint process? If you find yourself the victim of discrimination in the federal workplace, it’s important to understand your rights and how to enforce them with an EEOC complaint. For immediate assistance, please don’t hesitate to send a message or call us at (833) 833-3529 today. Here is a breakdown of the 6-Step Federal EEOC Complaint Process. The 6 Steps in the EEOC Complaints Process 1. Contact Your EEO Counselor Each agency has an equal employment opportunity counselor. Before filing a formal complaint with the EEOC, the first step of the federal EEO complaint process is to contact your agency’s EEO counselor within 45 days of the discrimination. Note that some agencies will use different terms for this office, such as the Office of Resolution Management (ORM) at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The EEO counselor will provide information about how a federal EEO complaint works. At this step, your counselor will provide details about the EEO process, including approximate timelines and your appeal rights. They will usually ask for information about your claims and bases too. Where applicable, you may also have the option to go through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). This step is also when you must choose whether to file your complaint through the EEO, negotiated grievance, or the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) processes, if applicable. Not all cases have this choice, but when you do, federal employees may choose only one of these two paths and the option first chosen is generally considered to be your election. If you’re unsure where you should file your federal EEOC complaint, consider consulting a federal EEOC lawyer. Understanding Which Laws the EEOC Enforces The EEOC enforces four federal anti-discrimination laws: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Equal Pay Act of 1963, The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Together, these laws protect against discrimination based on a number of characteristics, including race, color, sex and sexual orientation, religion or national origin, age, and disability. Additionally, the EEOC works to protect employees from retaliation by their superiors or agency. 2. Filing a Formal Complaint If you can’t resolve the issue through counseling or ADR, your counselor will provide you with a written Notice of Right to File Formal Complaint, and provide a final Interview. This notice gives you the right to file a formal complaint with your Agency’s EEO office within 15 days. Read the Notice carefully for instructions on where to send your complaint. Generally you can file your Formal EEO complaint by mail or email. Each complaint must be properly drafted to include at least: Contact information for you or your representative; Contact information for the person the claim is against; and A signed statement describing the events you believe resulted in discrimination, including when they occurred. After you submit your complaint, will review it to decide whether to conduct an investigation. 3. Your Agency Conducts an Investigation If your Agency accepts your claims, your agency will have to conduct an investigation into the alleged discrimination. Once the investigation is complete, you may request a hearing before an administrative judge, or you can request an immediate final decision for your EEOC complaint from your agency. 4. Hearing Before an Administrative Judge Like other court proceedings, an EEOC hearing involves presenting your case to an administrative judge. Each party also has the opportunity to conduct discovery to obtain additional information. At the end of the hearing, the judge will review the record and issue a decision about whether there was discrimination. In some cases, a federal employee may not need to request a hearing. Accordingly, hearings do not always happen as part of the federal EEOC complaint process. 5. Your Agency Issues a Final Decision Whether you choose a hearing or not, the final main step is your agency’s final decision. The agency will review the judge’s final order or the evidence from the investigation and notify you whether it found any discrimination. If there was discrimination, the agency may implement the judge’s orders or its own remedy. Because final decisions may not be in the employee’s favor, federal employees have the right to appeal a final agency action to the EEOC’s appellate division, the Office of Federal Operations (OFO). 6. Appealing to the EEOC You may appeal your agency’s decision to the OFO within 30 days of that decision. During the appeal process, the OFO will review the entire history of your complaint and the evidence in the record. The OFO will then issue its own determination of whether there was any discrimination. Having a federal EEOC lawyer is the best way to make sure your arguments are properly presented in this case. Contact a Federal EEOC Lawyer The federal EEOC complaint process looks long and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. The attorneys at the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC have years of experience representing federal employees in a variety of employment matters. If you’ve suffered discrimination and need help with your EEOC complaint, we can help. Contact us today online or at (833) 833-3529 for a free consultation.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 4 minutes | Workplace Discrimination

Understanding Discrimination Hiring Practices: Passed Over for Promotion by Less Qualified Employees

When you’re expecting a promotion and your supervisor suddenly gives it to another candidate, it can be frustrating. You may be wondering why you were passed over in favor of someone else, especially if they aren’t as qualified as you are. If you ask your boss and don’t get a satisfactory answer, there may be a reason. Unfortunately, discrimination in the federal workplace is not a new problem. Being passed over for a promotion in favor of a less-qualified candidate is not uncommon either. If you suspect you’re the victim of workplace discrimination, you need to contact a skilled federal employment lawyer right away. Discrimination in Promotion or Non-Selection Federal employers can choose to hire and promote someone for numerous legitimate reasons. However, the law prohibits employers from passing on an employee if their motives are rooted in certain types of discrimination. Actions that are even somewhat discriminatory are unlawful. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating in any facet of employment, including hiring, termination, referral, promotion, etc. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency that enforces these laws.   Employers cannot refuse to promote or hire someone because of: Gender, including sexual harassment; Pregnancy; Sexual orientation; Gender identity; Race; Age; Disability; or Ethnicity. Proving discrimination is not necessarily easy, but it’s not impossible. If you believe you were discriminated against, you have the right to take legal action against your federal agency. To better understand what workplace discrimination looks like, here are several other examples: An employer excludes employees of a certain race during recruitment activities; An employer denies employee benefits or bonus compensation to older employees; An employer gives different amounts of overtime to equally qualified employees in the same position based on their gender; An employer impermissibly discriminates when deciding who to terminate or who to promote; or An internal employment opportunity notice expresses a preference for employees who don’t have children. If you are considering pursuing a formal complaint about your missed promotion, you need to act quickly. You don’t have a lot of time to initiate your EEO complaint. What to Do When You Are Passed Over for a Promotion? Employees who have experienced discrimination in their workplace have legal rights. You should start by asking the hiring manager or your boss to explain why you were not promoted. If they don’t give you a straight answer or your gut tells you there is something they are leaving out, consider digging deeper. This is an excellent time to contact an experienced federal employee lawyer. At the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, we focus on legal issues affecting federal employees. We have years of experience representing clients in workplace harassment and discrimination claims. There is no harm in contacting us to discuss your situation. We can evaluate your case and let you know what the best course of legal action is. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may suggest you make a complaint about the alleged discrimination. This is when you want to pay close attention to conversations in your office. Look for patterns of discrimination. Some incidents may not be overt. Gather any text messages, emails, or other documents you have that could point to discrimination in the workplace. Understandably, you might be concerned about retaliation after reporting that you were passed over for a promotion by a less-qualified candidate. While illegal, retaliation does occur in workplaces, including federal agencies. If you reported discrimination or harassment and adverse employment action has been taken against you, it’s time to contact our office. Filing an EEOC Claim as a Federal Employee If you are considering filing a EEO complaint of discrimination against your agency, the process is unique for federal employees. Your first step is to speak with an EEO counselor at the agency where you work. Typically, you have only 45 days from the date of discrimination to contact them. You can then elect to process your case through traditional EEO counseling or an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program. A qualified federal employment attorney can advise you as to which route to take in your specific case.  In the event your dispute doesn’t resolve through one of these two methods, you have up to 15 days to file a formal complaint with your agency’s EEO office, which leads to a fact-finding investigation. Once they have completed this investigation, you have the choice to have the agency issue their decision through a final agency decision (FAD) or request a hearing before an EEOC administrative law judge. Depending on the outcome, you may later need to appeal by filing a civil action in federal court. Consult a Federal Employee Lawyer Today When you have been passed over for a promotion in favor of a less qualified candidate, you have the right to take action. If there is discrimination happening in your federal workplace, it’s probably not an isolated incident. Employers cannot discriminate against employees, nor can they retaliate if an employee reports an incident. To learn more about your legal options after being discriminated against, contact the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing today.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 4 minutes | Workplace Discrimination

Federal Sector Failure to Promote and Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

When you ace an interview for a new position, especially if you are well-qualified, it can be confusing to find out that someone else got the promotion. Especially when you learn that the person who got the job was less qualified and had far less experience. Understandably, you want to know why the hiring manager chose that applicant and didn’t promote you instead.  If you can’t get a straight answer, the hiring manager may be hiding something. Was the other applicant a different gender? Employers cannot refuse to promote someone because of their gender. If you suspect gender discrimination in the workplace, it’s imperative to speak with an experienced federal employee lawyer today. What Qualifies As Gender Discrimination in the Workplace? Determining what qualifies as gender discrimination can be difficult, which is why it’s crucial to have an attorney on your side. Gender discrimination against women in the workforce is nothing new, unfortunately. Women employed by the federal government continue to be passed over for promotions in favor of less experienced and less qualified men. This practice continues even though Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits failure to promote due to an applicant’s gender. While gender discrimination is not easy to prove, victims do have legal options. There are legitimate reasons someone may not get promoted that don’t qualify as gender discrimination. Possible legitimate reasons for failure to promote include: A lack of required educational qualification; A lack of experience for the position; A failure to meet the minimum qualifications; An inability to commit to the position’s work schedule; Another applicant was more qualified; Poorer performance during an interview; An unfavorable performance review at their current position; and An inability to perform required job duties, even with reasonable allowances and accommodations for a disability. Even if the explanation you received about why you weren’t promoted includes one or more of these legitimate reasons, you may still have a valid gender discrimination case if the given reason was pretext for discriminatory practices. Examples of Gender Discrimination in the Workplace  All types of gender discrimination in the workplace are illegal. An employer cannot treat an employee differently because of their gender. If someone is passed over for a promotion or a job because of their gender, they have likely been the victim of gender discrimination. Other examples of gender discrimination in the workplace include: Unequal pay for men and women doing the same job; Different sets of interview questions depending on gender; A positional bias that sees women in stereotypical positions, i.e., secretary, receptionist, and administrative assistant; Sexual harassment; Different dress code depending on gender; Diminished responsibilities for one gender; Different conversation styles depending on gender; and Different termination protocols between genders. Uncovering gender bias is not always easy. It’s even more challenging to eradicate it from the workplace. However, once you start looking closely, you may spot some of these gender biases in your workplace. Proving a causal connection between the failure to promote an employee and gender discrimination can be complicated, but typically possible to accomplish. That is why you need to retain the right federal employee lawyer to represent you. To successfully prove gender discrimination in the workplace, you must show that your gender was a motivating factor for a hiring manager not having promoted you. Something can be a “motivating factor” even if your agency would have taken the same action without a discriminatory motive. One way to prove a causal connection is to identify patterns of discriminatory conduct. Are significantly more women or men passed over for managerial positions? Are there other signs of discriminatory practices? Listen to conversations between other workers or comments made by supervisors. You may hear something that points to different patterns of discrimination. Be sure to hold onto any company documents, emails, or text messages that point to possible bias. Evidence of bias will be important for building a persuasive discrimination case.  Consult a Federal Employee Lawyer Today Filing a claim for gender discrimination in the workplace is not easy. That is one reason why hiring an attorney is so essential. Often, if one type of unlawful discrimination occurs in the workplace, others may be present as well. When you retain the skilled federal employee lawyers at the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, we will look for other discrimination patterns in addition to the bias you experienced. Speaking out after experiencing gender discrimination firsthand can be scary. Understandably, you may worry whether anyone will believe you, or about what happens after reporting the incident. Retaliation and termination are two legitimate concerns many federal employees have after reporting any discrimination. If you are terminated or experience retaliation after reporting discrimination, that is also illegal. While exposing gender discrimination can be terrifying, it’s crucial to speak up and protect your rights. With laws in place to protect you from gender discrimination in the workplace, you do not have to allow any employer to discriminate against you, especially the federal government. If you believe you experienced gender discrimination or any other type of discrimination in the workplace, contact the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing or give us a call today at (833) 833-3529 to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help protect your rights and fight for the equal treatment you deserve.

Continue Reading