Now you know

Every worker knows that once you've been hired it's illegal for an employer to discriminate against you. And even before we are hired some of us intuitively know that prospective employers shouldn't certain interview questions. For example are you married? Do you have kids? But what can be done when you apply for a job and you suspect that the employer discriminated against you? The interviewer asked you illegal questions directed at your age for example. You know you were qualified. You may even find out that a less qualified person outside of your race or sex, for example, got the job instead of you.

Did you know that the same laws that protect you once an employer hires you also protects you as you seek employment? Anti-discrimination laws to kick in when an employer employs 15 or more people. What is so magical about the number of 15? Congress derives its power to enact civil right laws because of it responsibility to regulate interstate commerce. Congress determined that a business with 15 or more employees affects interstate commerce. That's why the federal government is justified to regulate the business.

The process of opposing discrimination in hiring is exactly the same process for opposing discrimination when you are employed. File a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). An investigation begins. The employer will have to give a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for not hiring you. 

The process begins with EEOC investigator interviewing you. The employer must respond to your allegations in writing. You provide a written rebuttal. The process doesn't cost anything. You may hire an attorney if you like. The process can take years. At the conclusion, you receive a right to sue letter. You must then file suit within 90 days you received your right to sue or your lawsuit is time-barred forever. No exceptions.

When you seek employment, you are not powerless against discrimination. Many know that once you are hired you can't be discriminated against. Now you know even more. Happy job hunting. 

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Elizabeth D. Tate, Attorney at Law
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