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Racial Discrimination

Connecticut Race Discrimination & Harassment Representation

Ask any top Stamford Connecticut employment discrimination lawyer—race discrimination against minority employees takes place more than you would think in this modern day and age. Many Connecticut businesses are over 50 years old and unfortunately, much of that “old school” mentality against minorities and women are deeply entrenched in the culture of these companies. As a result, many Connecticut minority employees have found themselves the target of serious and severe workplace racial discrimination which have cost them their jobs, promotions, bonuses and other compensation. So if you feel like your employer has committed racial discrimination against you in Stamford, Greenwich, Norwalk, New Canaan, Darien, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Fairfield, or Bridgeport, then you should contact a top Connecticut discrimination lawyer attorney right away for a consultation. You have rights under state and federal anti-discrimination laws, but you must act quickly to preserve them.

Federal and State of Connecticut Laws Against Racial Discrimination

Remember that you usually cannot sue your employer or boss for just being a jerk. We often get calls about bosses and work colleagues who berate and verbally abuse employees, but in a non-discriminatory manner. This is usually not enough to sue. You need valid discrimination grounds under Connecticut state or federal law to sue them. Regardless of whether you are an “at-will” employee, or an employee with a written employment contract, it is against Connecticut law for an employer to engage in workplace race discrimination.

Connecticut state and federal courts take racial discrimination allegations very seriously. The Connecticut Human Rights Act (C.G.S.A. § 46a-60 et seq.) and Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e et seq.) prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of race or skin color. These state and federal laws also prohibit an employer for retaliating against an employee for opposing race discrimination in the workplace or filing a race discrimination complaint against an employer.

What Kind of Conduct Constitutes Racial Discrimination?

Workplace race discrimination occurs when an employer engages in prohibited conduct which is motivated – at least in part – by the employee’s race or color. The law is very specific and technical on this issue. We often get calls from people who believe their employers are racist and want to sue them for this, but that’s not enough. You must have specific racial harassment grounds to bring a lawsuit—whether in the form of specific verbal attacks, emails, text messages, annual reviews, or comments made by supervisors.

Under state and federal law, prohibited conduct includes:

(1) an “adverse employment action” – this is an action taken against the employee which affects the terms or conditions of the job, such as a pay cut, benefit reduction, suspension, firing or termination;

(2) “disparate treatment” – this is when the employer treats an employee differently in the terms or conditions of the job, including a decision to promote, or award a bonus or raise; and

(3) a “hostile work environment” – this is harassing an employee to the point that the work environment becomes filled with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult, that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive working environment.

Regardless of which category above in which the alleged discriminatory conduct falls, it is critical that you discuss with a top Stamford Connecticut racial discrimination lawyer who can advise you of your legal options. It is a long and emotionally taxing process to sue your employer; however, it is an important one as you deserve the benefits and financial opportunities you have been wrongfully denied by your employer. And just as importantly…taking action against a racist employer in Connecticut will help deter them from ever racially discriminating against any other employee in the future.

Two MUSTs for Making Your Case of Racial Discrimination Against Your Connecticut Employer

Two key pieces of advice that we usually always give our Stamford and Greenwich racial discrimination clients are the following: (1) save every email, voicemail, document, text message or communication that illustrates the racial discrimination, and (2) make sure you report your racial discrimination complaints to your Human Resources officer or department. Report each incident early and often. It is very important to your Connecticut racial discrimination case that you put your employer on written notice of the discrimination by reporting it to HR and your supervisor as early as possible. Create a paper trail of your racial discrimination reporting. This way, if the racial harassment and discrimination continues, then your employer may be liable to you for money damages due to the fact that they failed to address and rectify the racial harassment when you first put them on notice of it.

Exactly How Much Money Can I Collect as a Victim of Racial Discrimination?

If you are a victim of employment or racial discrimination in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, or New Canaan, then you may be entitled to money damages from your employer. These money damages can include lost income, the value of lost benefits such as medical or dental insurance, bonus compensation, interest on any of those amounts, damages for emotional pain and suffering, attorneys’ fees and costs, and in some cases, even punitive damages to punish the employer for its wrongful conduct. In some rare cases, your top Connecticut employment lawyer can convince the court to order your employer to give you your job back. While these amounts are offset and reduced by money you receive during the course of your lawsuit (such as salary and compensation from a new job, or unemployment benefits), the racial discrimination lawyers at Mark Sherman Law are focused on trying to get you the most amount of money possible.

In some cases we craft the language of our Connecticut racial discrimination lawsuits to trigger the employer’s insurance coverage. If an employer is struggling, then they may not have the money to pay the damages you would win a lawsuit. If your Connecticut racial discrimination employment lawyer is able to file a lawsuit that is covered by the employer’s insurance carrier, however, then you have a much better chance of being paid your damages by the carrier. The employment discrimination attorneys at Mark Sherman Law have settled many workplace discrimination cases with employers’ insurance companies. After all, that’s why these employers bought these insurance policies in the first place—to cover their losses arising from the mistakes and misconduct of their employees. Call the Mark Sherman Law racial discrimination lawyers to find out if it’s possible for you to collect a civil award from an employer’s insurance carrier.

Don’t Be Afraid of Retaliation for Opposing Race Discrimination at Your Company

We frequently see incidents of retaliation against employees who have reported Connecticut racial discrimination complaints to their employers. In any employment setting, it is against the law for your employer to retaliate against you for opposing discriminatory practices or for filing a race discrimination complaint. Retaliation may come in the form of an adverse employment action, disparate treatment, or a hostile work environment. Retaliation can come from any number of sources, such as your supervisors, subordinates, or your peers. It can also come in a variety of forms and media, such as text messages, social media, emails, and other forms of workplace bullying.

If you are a victim in Connecticut of workplace retaliation for engaging in protected conduct, then you may be entitled to compensation which can include lost income, the value of lost benefits, emotional damages, attorneys’ fees, and in some cases, punitive damages to punish the employer for its wrongful conduct.

The Gatekeeper for Racial Discrimination Lawsuits - Connecticut’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (the “CCHRO”)

Before filing a case in any Connecticut state or federal court for race discrimination or retaliation, Connecticut law requires the employee to file a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (the CCHRO). The CCHRO is a Connecticut agency whose mission is to eliminate discrimination in the workplace. The CCHRO enforces anti-discrimination laws by passing rules and regulations which employers must abide by. The federal counterpart to the CCHRO – the Equal Employing Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) -- has similar rules and procedures.

If you are a victim of employer racial discrimination in Stamford, Greenwich, Norwalk, New Canaan, or anywhere else in Connecticut, you must file a complaint with the CCHRO within 180 days of the adverse employment action. The Mark Sherman Law employment lawyers and attorneys are often hired to file CCHRO complaints. The CCHRO will then conduct a merit assessment review to determine if the complaint may go forward. If the CCHRO determines that the complaint has merit, then it will appoint an investigator to examine the facts and circumstances of your case and determine if there is reasonable cause to believe discrimination has occurred in your case.

If reasonable cause is found but you and your employer cannot come to an agreement, a Human Rights Referee will decide the case after a public hearing and trial. If you win this public hearing, the Referee can order the discrimination to cease and can award money damages to you. This may include getting your job back, awarding back pay, and recovering lost benefits.

While the CCHRO process is helpful to aggrieved employees, it has some limitations, including the type of relief you may obtain. Because of this, aggrieved employees may seek to transfer their Connecticut racial discrimination case from the CCHRO to Connecticut state or federal court, which requires obtaining a release from the CCHRO. A release may be obtained in various situations, including when both the employer and employee jointly request it before 280 days have passed, or if the employee requests it after 280 days have passed and the case is still pending.

So which forum is best suited for your case? The answer depends on many factors, such as, the nature of the discrimination, the costs and benefits of filing a racial discrimination lawsuit in a public court proceeding, who the employer is, and the nature of the relief you seek. So if you are considering filing a racial discrimination in Connecticut, you should contact law a top Connecticut employment lawyer to find out more about which forum is best for your case.

Does Your Racial Discrimination Case Belong in State or Federal Court?

Another key decision in discrimination cases is deciding whether to sue in Connecticut state or federal court. Although there are some instances where an employee will not have a choice as to whether to file in state versus federal court, in many cases the employee may have a choice.

Whether you can file in state court, federal court, or either, depends in large part on the size of the employer’s business. The state anti-discrimination body of law—the Connecticut Human Rights Act—applies to employers with 3 or more employees. In contrast, the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers employers with 15 or more employees. The differences between state and federal courts could be crucial to the outcome of your case. The strategic differences between choosing to pursue your case in state or federal court are nuanced so you should discuss these options with your Stamford Connecticut labor lawyer.

Making Efforts to Find New Employment

It is important for fired or harassed employees to know that the law requires them to make reasonable efforts to mitigate—or financially offset—their financial damages while a race discrimination case is pending. This means making reasonable efforts to seek alternative employment, and to seek unemployment compensation benefits while you are out of work. While people who have lost their job will no doubt engage in both of these efforts out of necessity, many people do not realize that records of such efforts must be preserved. Your Stamford employment lawyer will need these documents as evidence if a trial eventually becomes necessary. In addition, you will have other responsibilities during the pendency of your Connecticut racial discrimination case. Contact a top Connecticut Employment lawyer to find out more about what else you may need to do while your case is pending.

Contact a Connecticut Racial Discrimination Attorney Today

So if you are being subjected to racial discrimination by your employer in Stamford, Greenwich, Norwalk, New Canaan, Darien, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Fairfield, and Bridgeport, call one of the employment lawyers at Mark Sherman Law today. In most cases, you have a very short window of time to preserve your right to sue your employer. Even more importantly—and conveniently for the employer—evidence of racial discrimination and harassment in your employer’s possession can disappear quickly. You need a tough and aggressive Stamford Connecticut employment law firm to make sure emails, documents and surveillance recordings are preserved and that there is no spoliation of evidence by the Connecticut employer.

So get up to speed on your anti-race discrimination rights quickly. You can be sure your employer will have an attorney—you should too. The lawyers at Mark Sherman Law have successfully handled sensitive and serious cases involving race discrimination and retaliation. We have achieved positive results for good, hard-working people who were demoralized by their employers’ racial discrimination. So don’t wait any longer. Give us a call today at (203) 358-4700 to discuss your case.

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  • Disability Discrimination
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  • Sexual Orientation Discrimination