Do I have a Workplace Discrimination Claim?



Published on April 24, 2016

Do I Have A Workplace Discrimination Claim? Orlando employment discrimination attorney Scott Adams talks about discrimination in the workplace, the elements of discrimination and how they can be established. Free consultation at 407-835-8968.

What is discrimination in the workplace?

There are three elements to discrimination:

  • A protected class
  • A tangible or intangible employment action
  • A causal link between those two, and the last is damages

What is a protected class? A protected class is established either by Title VII, which is known as the Federal Civil Rights Act. It can also be established by the American with Disabilities Act and it can be established by the Family Medical Leave Act. In fact, there are numerous different statutes that create these protected classes. You have to look to either legislation, or a constitutional provision, and sometimes, county ordinances, such as Orange County as an ordinance as well. Those create the protected classes.

The tangible/intangible employment actions are two separate types of adverse employment actions. Tangible by definition means a material change in terms and conditions of the employment. Intangible means, what people typically refer to as harassment, or a hostile work environment.

The third element is to demonstrate that the two of those are connected. So the employee must demonstrate that a causal link between the tangible or intangible employment action, whether its harassment, hostile work environment, or the material change in terms and circumstances, such as hiring, firing, decrease in pay, is connected to the specific protected class. For example, an employee would have to demonstrate they were terminated because they are an African American. Another example would be an employee proving that they were being harassed because of their gender.

Finally, you have to show are the damages, so what kind of damages are recoverable in a typical discrimination based case? You can recover:

  • Backpay: The backpay is from the time of the adverse employment action up to the point of judgment.
  • Front pay, which is from the point of judgment, looking forward, that the court can order for a specified period of time, the pay that you would be entitled to, and if you have a job, and the job makes less than your old job, you would get the difference between those two jobs.
  • Compensatory damages, sometimes referred to as pain and suffering, or loss of enjoyment of life. You’re also entitled to interest on those damages, as well as attorney’s fees and costs.

The statute is what governs what type of damages you recover. For example, under the Family Medical Leave Act you don’t recover all those types of damages, you only recover wages and liquidated damages under that statute. Under Title VII, which protects race, religion, color, and gender, you would receive all the ones previously described.

So, as hopefully or what probably has been demonstrated, is that discrimination is very fact specific. You have to look at very detailed sets of facts. If you believe you have a workplace discrimination claim, my advice is that you call our Orlando discrimination attorneys immediately, and discuss the specific facts of your case. You may call us at 407-835-8968 or fill out the online form provided on this page and we will contact you shortly for your free initial consultation.

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