Discriminated Against in the Workplace? You Need a Workplace Discrimination Lawyer
Most employees in Massachusetts are “at-will” which means that their employer can fire them at any time for any reason, save for an illegal reason. It’s illegal to fire an employee, or base hiring decisions, on someone’s age, race, gender, maternity status, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry. To do so is considered discrimination. If you feel that you’ve been discriminated against in your workplace, you need the services of an experienced workplace discrimination lawyer.
No employee should have to tolerate unfair treatment by an employer. If you have a claim, we can help make you whole again. The attorneys at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP can evaluate your case and determine whether your rights may have been violated. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case: (508) 570-3037.
What Is Discrimination?
Discrimination in the workplace is any decision made when it comes to hiring, firing, or the enforcement of policies, that are based on things out of your control: your gender, your race, your sexual orientation…things like that. It’s wrong, and it’s also illegal to do.
Massachusetts employment discrimination laws apply to employers with six or more employees, and any employer of a domestic worker regardless of the employer’s size. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, age, criminal record, disability, mental illness, retaliation, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, active military personnel, and genetics. In addition, employers have an affirmative responsibility to provide parental leave to biological and adoptive parents.
When to Take Action
There are several circumstances in which the help of a workplace discrimination lawyer would help.
- Wrongful termination. If you’ve been discriminated against, received a “constructive discharge,” or “constructive termination,” or if your employer has made the work environment so difficult for you that you feel there is no other option than to quit.
- Discrimination in hiring, firing, and workplace policies. Including discrimination based on age, race, gender, maternity status, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, or ancestry.
- Unpaid wages and benefits. If you believe you have not been paid for time worked, overtime, or have not received benefits you may have a claim under the Massachusetts Wage Act and /or the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Misclassification as an independent contractor. If you feel that you have been treated as an independent contractor when you are actually an employee, you may have a right to recover unpaid compensation.
- Sexual harassment. A sadly common occurrence, should not be tolerated. The law protects employees from harassment, and if you have been harassed at work you have the right to take action.
- Occupational license defense for health care providers, realtors, childcare providers, casino workers, liquor store owners, accountants, attorneys, and contractors. If you are charged with a crime, your license may be in jeopardy.
- Retaliation. If your employer has retaliated against you simply because you complained about a wrongful workplace policy or practice, you may have a claim against the employer. The law acknowledges the power that employers often have over their employees, and that employees would be afraid to challenge unfair employment practices without adequate legal protection.
- Non-compete agreements and waivers. If your employer made you sign a non-compete agreement, you should make sure that the agreement does not violate Massachusetts law. Non-compete agreements that unreasonably restrict your right to work may be illegal and unenforceable. If your employer asks you to sign a waiver form that could release the rights you have, you should consult with an attorney before agreeing to sign. Some waivers may not be enforceable.
How a Workplace Discrimination Lawyer Can Help
You may be entitled to several forms of compensation if you have been the victim of workplace discrimination, including unpaid wages, reinstatement in your job, compensation for lost wages, and attorney’s fees. Employers who have engaged in particularly egregious conduct may be liable for punitive damages, to serve as a deterrent from ever again engaging in illegal behavior.
There are many statutes and regulations that apply to the workplace, and employees often have rights that they do not realize they have. Because individual circumstances vary so much, it is worth consulting a workplace discrimination lawyer if you have reason to believe that your employer is treating you unfairly.
If you feel as though you have been discriminated against in the workplace, be sure to have a professional on your side. At Murphy & Rudolf, LLP, our experienced team keeps a small caseload, so we can devote ourselves to you and your case. Contact us today for more information at (508) 570-3037 and to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced professionals.