The attorneys at Zamora Law Office have been helping injured employees with their workers’ compensation claims for more than twenty years. Often our clients have other questions about their employment situation. We understand your concerns, and we are here to help. What follows are frequently asked questions, which we will update in future blog posts.
With this first installment, we cover common questions about how to start an employment discrimination claim.
Q: I feel like my supervisor is treating me differently from my co-workers. What can I do?
A: At the outset, you must determine why you are being treated differently. This can be quite difficult because supervisors don’t usually tell you or they don’t offer candid explanations. It could be due to differences in personality. It could also be because your supervisor is not satisfied with your work performance. Sometimes, though, supervisors treat employees differently because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, ancestry, or military status. These are known as “protected classes” or “protected status.” When an employer takes an adverse action (like firing, demoting, disciplining) against you based on a protected status, that is unlawful discrimination.
Q: What should I do if I feel like I am the victim of employment discrimination?
A: Check to see if your employer has a policy manual. Your employer may have a designated Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) representative. You will want to follow the procedures, if any, in the manual. You are not necessarily limited by the procedure offered in the manual, though. You can also contact an attorney, and file a charge of discrimination with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Q: How can the Ohio Civil Rights Commission or the Equal Opportunity Commission help?
A: The Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are government agencies that have the legal authority to investigate allegations of discrimination in employment. The OCRC and the EEOC are neutral – they do not represent the victim of discrimination and they do not represent the employer. As neutral fact-finding agencies, they will collect documents, talk to witnesses, and ultimately determine whether it is probable or not that your employer broke the law. The services of the OCRC and EEOC are free.
Q: When must I alert the OCRC or the EEOC about my allegations?
A: This can be a complicated question to answer. Generally speaking, though, you have six months to file a charge of discrimination with the OCRC after the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice was committed. You have 300 days in Ohio to file a charge with the EEOC.
Q: What is the difference between the OCRC and the EEOC?
A: The OCRC is a state agency, while the EEOC is a federal agency. While they enforce different discrimination laws, there is much overlap. The EEOC provides funds to the OCRC to handle cases. An important difference is that the OCRC covers employers with four or more persons, while the EEOC, for the most part, covers employers with fifteen or more employees (but that can vary depending on what specific discrimination law applies).
Q: Do I need a lawyer?
A: While the services of the OCRC and the EEOC are free, keep in mind, they don’t represent you and cannot provide you legal advice. Also, the remedies they can obtain on your behalf may be limited by law. An attorney works for you. He or she has your best interest in mind and can help you navigate your claim through the legal system.
Please call us at 614-221-1300 to discuss your particular situation.