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Am I Protected If I Report Employment Discrimination?

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NH Employment Discrimination – Many employees know that federal employment laws protect employees from discrimination and harassment based on certain categories, such including racesexpregnancyagedisability or religion.  Many are also aware that federal wage law ensures employees are paid at least minimum wage for working regular hours and extra for overtime.  However, few employees appreciate that these same employment laws provide additional protection to those employees who have the courage to report or make a complaint to their employer about discrimination.  The employment discrimination laws are intended to protect the employees who report their workplace problem to their employer first, before bringing the matter to court.

Protection for Reporting Discrimination

The federal anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII, makes it unlawful for any employer to discriminate against an employee because she “opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by this [law], or because he has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this [law].”

Other federal employment laws provide similar protection:

  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act includes nearly identical language, prohibiting employer retaliation against employees for complaining of age discrimination.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] also has this protection and adds that it is unlawful for an employer to “coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any individual in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his or her having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his or her having aided or encouraged any other individual in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected” under the ADA.
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act states it is illegal “to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to [the FLSA].”

Reporting Discrimination is Helpful Evidence

When an employee is terminated due to his or her protected status (e.g. age, disability, race, sex, or religion) it is often difficult to prove that the employee’s protected status was the employer’s motivation for the termination.  Instead of giving the real reason, employers state a “pretextual” or false reason for the termination, because employees know that the true reason is illegal.  In these cases, it is very often much easier to show the employer’s true illegal motivation for the termination if the employee has submitted a written, polite report to the employer of the suspected unlawful treatment he or she is experiencing at work.

If you believe you have been the victim of employment discrimination, you should consult an experienced NH discrimination lawyer at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. at (603) 288-1403 or fill out our online contact form.