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THE EMPLOYMENT LAW GROUP®

Toll Free: 1-888-826-5260
Fax: 202-261-2835

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Do You Need a DC Discrimination Lawyer?

  • Have you been the victim of unfair treatment by your employer because you reported a hostile work environment?

  • Have you, yourself, been discriminated against on the basis of your race, gender, sexual orientation, or some other protected status?
  • Are your reputation and financial stability on the line because your supervisor?

In addition to federal prohibitions on discrimination, including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and others, DC discrimination laws like the D.C. Human Rights Act (“DCHRA”) protect workers in the District of Columbia. The DCHRA makes it unlawful for any employer to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, genetic information, and other categories. The DCHRA also protects employees from retaliation when those employees disclose or object to practices that are discriminatory. If you have lost your position as a result of unlawful discrimination or retaliation, the DCHRA may be able to help get your job back.

Learn More

Important statutes in this area of law:

Notable TELG cases in this area of law:

  • Sticha v. Salazar

    TELG client Jennifer Sticha won default judgment against agency after agency failed to respond to Sticha’s complaint.

Workplace discrimination and sexual harassment can be devastating to employees and their careers. The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® have substantial experience representing employees and applicants who were discriminated against by their employer or experienced sexual harassment. The federal government, Washington, D.C., and many other states and local governments have enacted laws prohibiting numerous forms of workplace discrimination and harassment.

Our team of attorneys has brought numerous claims under the DC Human Rights Act, Title VII, and other anti-discrimination laws. For example, TELG client Jennifer Sticha, an employee of the Department of the Interior, alleged she had been the victim of unwelcome sexual harassment that created a hostile work environment, and was terminated because she asked to speak with an EEO counselor. Through our representation, Sticha won a default judgment against the Department of the Interior for its poor handling of the case.

A prevailing plaintiff in a workplace discrimination lawsuit may be entitled to hiring, reinstatement, lost wages and benefits, cease and desist orders against the employer, damages for emotional distress, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, Expert witness fees, or administrative fines.

Additionally, the court may order punitive damages when a corporate defendant’s officers or directors engage in harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, or when they approve or consciously disregard prohibited workplace discrimination or harassment by lower-level employees.

As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. Aggrieved employees have one year to file a claim of discrimination under the DCHRA. But you may have other causes of action with much more immediate filing deadlines. This means that you should not sit idly on any of your potential claims.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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What is sexual harassment under DC discrimination laws?

Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination that includes among other behavior:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Any verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that affects an individual’s employment

Which federal laws prohibit workplace discrimination and sexual harassment?

There are several federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963, protecting men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), protecting individuals who are 40 years of age or older from age discrimination.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibiting employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities.
  • Complete List of Federal Discrimination Laws

Which Washington, D.C. laws prohibit workplace discrimination and sexual harassment?

The Washington, D.C. Human Rights Act and other Washington, D.C. Labor Laws prohibit employment discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Ancestry
  • Age (40 and over)
  • Mental or physical disability
  • Being diagnosed with HIV or AIDS
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression
  • Marital status
  • Pregnancy
  • Use of family and medical leave
  • Political affiliation
  • Matriculation
  • Genetic information
  • Perceived inclusion in any of the above protected classes

How do Washington, D.C. workplace discrimination laws differ from similar federal laws?

Washington, D.C. law provides broader protections for individuals against workplace discrimination than similar federal laws do. For example:

  • Washington, D.C. law explicitly prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation while federal law does not explicitly prohibit such discrimination.
  • Washington, D.C. law explicitly prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s political affiliation while federal law does not explicitly prohibit such discrimination.
  • Washington, D.C. law prohibits harassment by all employers and workplace discrimination by employers regardless of the number of employees while Title VII only applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

What forms of compensation are available to an individual who is exposed to illegal workplace discrimination or sexual harassment by an employer?

A prevailing plaintiff in a workplace discrimination lawsuit may be entitled to:

  • Hiring
  • Reinstatement
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Cease and desist orders against the employer
  • Damages for emotional distress
  • Reasonable attorney’s fees and costs
  • Expert witness fees
  • Administrative fines

Additionally, the court may order punitive damages when a corporate defendant’s officers or directors engage in harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, or when they approve or consciously disregard prohibited workplace discrimination or harassment by lower-level employees.

In which aspects of employment is discrimination prohibited?

It is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment, including:

  • Job advertisements
  • Hiring and firing
  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Use of company facilities
  • Training and apprenticeship programs
  • Testing
  • Leave-taking
  • Retirement plans
  • Other terms and conditions of employment

Must an employer make accommodations for a disabled employee?

Generally, yes.  If an employee is disabled or the employer perceives the employee as disabled, the employer generally must make a good faith effort to institute reasonable accommodations that will permit the employee to work at his or her current position, unless the employee cannot perform the essential functions of the job, even with accommodation.

How much unpaid leave must an employer allow an employee to use when experiencing pregnancy, the birth of a child, a serious health condition, or to take care of a sick family member?

Generally, an employer cannot refuse to grant a female employee up to 4 months of leave for her pregnancy.  The employer must also provide reasonable accommodations while the employee is pregnant.

Under the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act, an employer cannot refuse to grant a qualified employee up to 12 weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of the employee’s child or the serious health condition of a child, spouse, parent, or the employee.

What qualifications must an employee meet to be covered under the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act?

To be covered under the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act an employee must have worked at least 1,000 hours (an average of 19 hours per week) without a break in employment status during the 12-month period immediately preceding the requested medical leave.

Can an employer fire or otherwise retaliate against an employee for reporting illegal workplace discrimination or sexual harassment?

No.  An employer may not retaliate in any way against an employee who reports or refuses to engage in what the employee reasonably believes to be prohibited workplace discrimination or sexual harassment.  Prohibited forms of retaliation include firing, demotion, suspension, harassment, threats, or any conduct that would dissuade a worker from reporting workplace discrimination or sexual harassment.

What should I do if my employer engages in workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, or has retaliated against me for reporting such prohibited behavior?

Keep a detailed and contemporaneous log of your employer’s actions and statements relating to workplace discrimination and your employer’s retaliatory acts, and contact The Employment Law Group® law firm at 888-603-0983 or inquiry@employmentlawgroup.com to discuss your potential claim.

Learn More

Important statutes in this area of law:

Notable TELG cases in this area of law:

  • Sticha v. Salazar

    TELG client Jennifer Sticha won default judgment against agency after agency failed to respond to Sticha’s complaint.

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