Civil Rights & Constitutional Law
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February 16, 2016
• Practice Areas • Practices • Employment discrimination
Unfortunately, many victims never take action because they are afraid of losing their jobs and not getting justice.
Still others who do get help obtain assistance from lawyers who do not have the resources, patience, or tenacity to build a strong case and maximize value for the clients.
Most states including Ohio are "at-will-employment" states. That means that employers can mistreat and even fire you "at will", that is, for almost any reason—including completely unfair and irrational ones. Yes, your boss can be completely crazy and there's generally nothing you can do about it.
The few exceptions to "at-will" employment are rare, but carved out in the law.
Those exceptions to employers' almost total freedom include discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex or gender, disability, or age—or for having reasonably complained about such discrimination taking place against yourself or others (or participating in an investigation of such discrimination).
Unfortunately, discrimination by private employers based upon LGBT status is not yet fully protected by laws, although the law in this area is evolving, and there is some opportunty for legal action for discrimination based on "gender stereotyping"—treating you based on certain expectations about how men and women should act. Employment discrimination by governments may also be increasingly protected.
Despite these protections—bedrock law in America since the Civil Rights Act of 1964—proving employment-discrimination cases in federal court is exceedingly difficult. The reason for this is that conservative courts have placed high burdens on plaintiffs to prove their cases.
As a practical matter, that means that even when a racial minority or woman knows instinctively when they are facing discrimination in the workplace, documenting and showing it can be hard.
There are two primary ways to do so.
The first is direct evidence. That is, for example, that a supervisor (repeatedly) called someone the n-word or used other blatantly discriminatory language. This is rare, but it does happen. One would still have to prove through witnesses or recordings that it occurred.
The second—and this is where discrimination cases get hard—is through "comparators." That is, someone experiencing discrimination would have to show that others "similiarly situated" were treated better. So, for example, a plaintiff who is a bank teller would have to prove that others bank tellers were treated better, and the main difference between them was one of the protected categories, that is race, sex, etc.
Often, people who do speak up about discrimination endure retalation for having done so. But those cases, as explained on our retaliation page, are somewhat easier to prove.
Our law firm has secured multimillion-dollar and six-figure verdicts and settlements in discrimination and retaliation cases for our clients:
(Of course, results in every case vary based on many factors including the facts of the case.)
Firm founding and managing partner Subodh Chandra has not just helped secure settlements and verdicts for clients, he has successfully defended such claims, and thus is familiar with the strategies that wily defense lawyers use—and how to overcome them.
You should look not only for experience in civil-rights lawyers, but for a record of accomplishment and the toughness and willingness to take good cases to trial. Many self-described "civil rights" lawyers are all about a fast payday that does not maximize the potential of the case for the client. While we believe it is in clients' best interests to resolve cases as quickly as possible, as long as we have good facts and law on our side, we are willing to fight long and hard for our clients to recover as much as possible. Defendants sometimes need to endure tough lawyering and be taken fully through the stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—before they are willing to pay what they should to plaintiffs.
When you are facing off against a large employer, such as a Fortune 500 corporation, you need attorneys who can effectively build a case by doing the following:
Facing litigation against an employer for discrimination or wrongful-termination claims can be a scary experience. That is where we come in. We level the playing field by providing aggressive, relentless representation, whether you are facing racial discrimination or discrimination based on your race, sex, gender, national origin, age, disability status, or religion.
Our Cleveland-based boutique litigation firm provides large-firm skills, experience, and resources with small-firm personal attention to your case's unique needs and goals. It is why clients throughout Ohio and across the United States have turned to our attorneys to hold businesses and employers accountable for discrimination.
Our lawyers can send a strong message that you intend to seek the justice you deserve for the discrimination you face. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation by calling our office in Cleveland at 216-578-1700. One of our intake specialists will take detailed information for attorney review. They are highly trained at obtaining the information needed to evaluate your case.
If you are preparing to complain about discrimination, we can help you do it in a way that helps you fight back—with evidence—if you face retaliation for doing so.