Articles Posted in Employment Discrimination

Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that employment discrimination based on workers’ sexual orientations or gender identities constituted violations of Title VII. Since that time, the exact extent of federal law’s protection against gender identity discrimination remains an issue that is still developing. Whether you’re a worker who believes you’ve suffered this sort of harm or you’re an employer facing this type of charge, you definitely should consult a knowledgeable Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer with all due haste, who can advise you on the latest developments in the law and what your next steps should be.

As an illustration, we can look at all that has taken place just in the last six months.

In August, the Georgia Department of Corrections won a victory in a case regarding the interplay of preferred pronouns and gender identity discrimination. The employee, T.C. was a trans man who was AFAB (“assigned female at birth” or “born a biological female.”) In 2017, T.C. began hormone therapy. A year later, he legally changed his name.

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Every successful disability discrimination case necessarily involves several essential ingredients. You have to have suffered from a qualifying disability. You must have made a request that was sufficiently specific to put your employer on notice that you were seeking a disability accommodation. You also must have engaged in the interactive process in good faith. As you seek to build your failure-to-accommodate case, an experienced Atlanta disability discrimination lawyer can provide you with invaluable aid in securing and presenting the proof you’ll need to succeed.

A North Georgia employee’s case accusing her employer of failing to reasonably accommodate her disability recently scored an important victory in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. While the trial court had sided with the employer, the appeals court reversed that ruling and revived the case.

P.W. worked as a claims examiner in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Atlanta regional office. The examiner, who was also a veteran, had degenerative disc disease in her back and partial paralysis in both her feet. Based on those conditions, the examiner asked for an accommodation regarding her parking spot. Normally, probationary examiners like P.W. had to park in an off-site parking lot one mile from the office; P.W. asked for permission to park on-site.

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As we enter the holiday season this year, one thing for which we can be thankful is that most of us generally can celebrate the season with many fewer restrictions as compared to two years ago. Even as COVID-19 has dissipated from its 2020 worst, the virus (and complications from it) remains a reality for many people. That includes people who have one or more COVID-connected disabilities that require a workplace accommodation. If you’re one of those people and your employer denied you the accommodation you need, you should get in touch with a knowledgeable Atlanta disability discrimination lawyer to discuss what the legal system can do for you.

Last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued a Newton County pharmaceutical manufacturing employer in a first of its kind: an action against an employer for an alleged failure to accommodate a worker’s disability that was related to COVID-19. Recently, the EEOC announced that the employer had agreed to settle the case.

R.M., the employee in the case, was a health, safety, and environmental quality (“HSE”) manager at the company’s facility located about 50 miles east of Atlanta. In early March 2020, the manager’s doctor diagnosed her with obstructive lung disease. The doctor recommended that the manager work from home and take frequent breaks while working.

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As of 2020, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 53 million American adults — or 21% — had one or more forms of mental illness, which can cover a wide array of disorders from depression to anxiety to schizophrenia to addiction. Fortunately for those who experience mental illness to an extent that it impairs major life activities, the Americans With Disabilities Act offers substantial protection against employment discrimination. If you have a mental health disability and your employer failed to accommodate that disability, then they may have violated the ADA. You should contact a knowledgeable Atlanta disability discrimination lawyer to find out if an ADA violation has taken place and, if so, what your next steps should be.

That sort of failure to accommodate was exactly what allegedly happened to one employee of Atlanta’s largest public hospital, and it ended with the worker securing a payout via a settlement.

The worker, a certified medical assistant (CMA), began experiencing symptoms of depression in September 2019. The woman visited a doctor, who diagnosed her with severe depression. Based on that diagnosis, the employee asked for a little more than a month of leave.

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In a lot of walks of life, some people like to say that “timing is everything.” If you’ve endured employment discrimination in Georgia, timing isn’t everything when it comes to succeeding in a civil action, but it may be the only thing that matters if you fail to meet the law’s filing deadlines. The crucial importance of timely filings — and the catastrophic havoc missed deadlines can create — are just further evidence of why, if you’re the victim of age discrimination at work, you need to ensure you retain the services of a skilled Atlanta age discrimination lawyer right away.

In most discrimination cases, one of your first deadlines is the one for filing a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As one recent age discrimination case from here in North Georgia illustrates, missing this deadline can be devastating to your case.

The time period for filing this EEOC charge varies by state. For most types of discrimination claims, the deadline is 300 days if the state has its own fair employment practices agency (or a local agency) that enforces state/local laws prohibiting that type of discrimination. These kinds of states are called “deferral states.” Continue reading ›

When you’re pursuing an employment discrimination case, the court will be looking for certain types of proof from you, including evidence that the employer treated you less favorably that a similarly situated coworker. “Similarly situated,” in this context, means someone who’s professionally very much like you except that they fall outside the protected class that serves as the basis for your lawsuit. These coworkers are called “comparators” and you can name one or name several. Succeeding in a case that demands comparator evidence means understanding exactly how similar you and that coworker must be, which is one of many areas where having a knowledgeable Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer on your side can be crucial.

As an example, we can consider the race and age discrimination case of K.L., a Black man in his 50s who worked as a security guard at a medical center. The guard’s job entailed guarding “patients who were considered especially at risk for harming themselves or others.” The guard’s employer fired him after he allegedly left a high-risk patient unattended for “some period of time,” during which time the patient escaped.

After the termination, K.L. sued for race discrimination under Title VII and age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

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There are a wide array of pieces of information that can help your employment discrimination case. Many may involve factual issues and tend to prove the discrimination you’ve alleged. Other are matters of law, like the degree of causal connection you need to succeed in your type of discrimination case. A knowledgeable Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer is someone who can combine your factual evidence with an in-depth knowledge of the law to give you the total representation you need.

M.L.’s race discrimination case was one where issues of causation were key. She was also a Black woman over the age of 40 and a mammographer at an Air Force base in Florida, In 2016-18, she allegedly experienced discrimination at her job with the Air Force.

By the summer of 2016, the mammographer’s supervisor was a non-Black woman under the age of 40. That supervisor allegedly engaged in a variety of forms of discrimination that included: berating her, failing to give her feedback as part of a negative performance evaluation, and criticizing her for failing to complete non-mandatory tasks.

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When this blog looks at recent case decisions, we often explore outcomes where an injured worker was successful. Sometimes, though, cases that ended unsuccessfully provide the best lessons and tips for a worker contemplating a discrimination lawsuit. Of course, whether it involves utilizing cases where the other worker won or lost, count on a knowledgeable Atlanta age discrimination lawyer to take the law, alongside the specific facts of your situation, and combine them for the strongest possible case.

The age discrimination case of R.W. is good example of how another worker’s failure may help pave the way for your success. R.W., the deputy fire chief for a city just south of Macon, responded to a fire alert he received on his cell phone at roughly 8:00 p.m. one night in 2018.

The deputy chief’s regular shift ended at 5:00 and, in the intervening three hours, he allegedly drank one 24-ounce beer. At the scene, a lieutenant and an assistant chief each allegedly noticed the smell of alcohol on the deputy chief’s breath. The deputy chief also allegedly was “slurring his speech a little.” The deputy chief denied having consumed alcohol.

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Over the last decade-plus, much has been made about the way Americans obtain healthcare services and health insurance. Even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most Americans still get their health insurance coverage via their employer. Given the cost of healthcare in this country, employer-provided health insurance coverage often represents one of the more important terms and conditions of any job. That means that a denial of coverage on an improper basis can constitute illegal discrimination. If it’s happened to you, a knowledgeable Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer can help you learn more about protecting your rights.

One Georgia deputy’s discrimination case represents an important area where employer-provided health insurance coverage issues may constitute a Title VII violation: exclusions from coverage for gender-affirming care.

In 2018, A.L., a trans woman and a deputy in the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, notified her employer that she was trans and began transitioning. She underwent hormone therapy and “top surgery.” (Top surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic, seeks to “increase breast size and change the shape of the chest” to make it more feminine in appearance.)

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A situation where an employer terminated or demoted an employee shortly after that employee made a complaint about illegal discrimination or harassment is one possible example of impermissible retaliation. However, what can constitute actionable retaliation goes way beyond that. If your employer took punitive action against you because you spoke up against illegal employment practices, then you should get in touch with a knowledgeable Atlanta employment retaliation case.

As an example of how broadly the law against retaliation stretches, there is this case from neighboring Alabama, in which the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions control federal cases in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida) entered a decision in January.

The worker, J.S., was an administrative assistant working for a local police department in suburban Birmingham. In the summer of 2015, the police chief denied the assistant’s request to take a day off using her compensatory time. As a result, the assistant made a formal written complaint to human resources accusing the chief of sex discrimination. The complaint alleged that the chief treated J.S. differently than the department’s male employees when it came to approving the use of earned compensatory time.

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