Understanding Common Workplace Lawsuits
Employers face a broad range of workplace lawsuits. The following are three common claims that may be made by employees.
Workplace discrimination violates state and federal laws. Discrimination is the unfair treatment of an employee or applicant because of a protected characteristic such as gender, race, religious background, or disability. For example, discriminating against an African-American employee may violate the federal Civil Rights Act, while discrimination against a disabled employee violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. If your business is located in the District of Columbia, both types of discrimination would also violate the D.C. Human Rights Act.
An employer may be liable for harassment if an employee is harassed and the employer knew of the situation but failed to correct it. Harassment is not just perpetrated by employers. The harassment need not come from management – employees may also recover for harassment by a co-worker, client, or customer. The most well-known harassment is sexual in nature and involves inappropriate comments or touching, but bullying, workplace violence, and harassment based on other protected characteristics are also prohibited by state and federal law.
An employee who is fired unlawfully may seek damages for compensation and lost wages and pursue punitive damages against the employer. Punitive damages are designed to punish especially bad conduct and discourage similar conduct in the future. One example of wrongful termination is where an employee is fired for refusing to violate the law.
An employment-law attorney can assist you with these and other workplace lawsuits.
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