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Being the victim of discrimination based on your race, gender, age or disability can be a deeply humiliating and even traumatic experience. Fortunately, state, local and federal law prohibit many forms of discrimination, and allow victims to pursue claims to compensate them for their losses and injuries.
While being the victim of illegal and unfair treatment can be stressful, it’s important to understand precisely what to do in the wake of such incidents or patterns of conduct. Making the correct decisions early can help ensure you have a strong case premised upon evidence of the wrongdoing. These decisions include the protocol to follow right after the incident, (or even while a pattern of conduct is ongoing) and the best way to find the right legal representation to prepare and advocate on your behalf.
What to do in the event of illegal discrimination
Under the law, the unfair or inequitable treatment of individuals based on certain characteristics is prohibited. These characteristics include ethnicity, gender, disability, age, race, religion and sexual orientation.
One example of discrimination in action: If an employee is denied promotion based on race or gender, a discrimination suit may be appropriate. Other areas where federal and various state laws prohibit discrimination include housing, education, lending and voting. Two common discrimination claims involve age discrimination and workplace sexual harassment.
There are many Federal laws and regulations, which help form the basis of many legal protections in the United States. Various individual states have their own anti-discrimination laws on the books. Labor laws and anti-discrimination laws can also be seen at the local level. Given the sheer number of laws and regulations governing discrimination in various settings and forms, as well as the developed case law, it is imperative that you learn the specifics of your legal rights very early in the process.
If you believe that you have been the victim of discrimination in any context, it’s important that you take action to safeguard your rights. After the incident occurs, write down notes documenting everything that was said. It is important to be in contact with a lawyer as early as possible in the process in order to obtain guidance as to the manner of legally compiling the important evidence that may become the underpinning of any legal action.
You may wish to avoid making public statements about the incident, including posts on social media.
Finding the right attorney
Discrimination cases can be particularly complex, as the laws and regulations governing discrimination are numerous with a large body of case law also to consider. Additionally, people are often unaware of the distinctions between illegal discrimination and behavior that may seem wrong or discriminatory, but may not be actionable.
If you’ve been the victim of what you consider to be possible illegal discrimination, you should immediately seek the services and guidance of experienced legal counsel. It is best to be circumspect in the use of social media when involved in any potential litigation as your posts may become evidence in your case.
There are limited time periods to take action. The right attorney or law firm can help ensure that you are properly protected and if required, adequately compensated for your losses.
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