Employment discrimination occurs when an employer uses bias to make decisions regarding its personnel or applicants. Employment discrimination law stems from the U.S. Constitution and is codified in a patchwork of state, federal, and case law.
If you think your employer acted with discrimination based on age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or pregnancy, you should immediately consult with employment discrimination attorney. The attorney can assess your situation, apply the applicable law, advise you if you have a valid case, and take action to achieve the compensation you deserve.
A lawsuit or settlement negotiations can take months or even years to play out, but every case is unique, and will depend on the circumstances of your case. If there is a lot of compensation on the line, it's likely that your case may take longer. Your attorney can advise you about what to expect.
Just like with any other type of lawsuit, it will require evidence to prove your claims. If you think you are the victim of discrimination at your workplace, then it is important to document what you can. Save all email correspondence, phone messages, and performance reviews or other documentation that may prove your claims. Also, think about anyone you work with who would be able to corroborate your claims.
In the eyes of the federal government, you can be the victim of age discrimination if you are 40 years old or older. Some state laws lower that age threshold. But if you are under 40, it will be difficult to press ahead with an age discrimination lawsuit.
No matter what your legal issue may be, it is always best to seek legal help early in the process. An attorney can help secure what is likely to be the best possible outcome for your situation and avoid both unnecessary complications or errors.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
Bill by the hour: Many attorneys bill by the hour. How much an attorney bills you per hour will vary based on a number of factors. For instance, an attorney's hourly fee may fluctuate based on whether that hour is spent representing you in court or doing research on your case. Attorneys in one practice area may bill you more than attorneys in a different practice area.
Contingent fee: Some lawyers will accept payment via contingent fee. In this arrangement, the lawyer receives a percentage of the total monetary recovery if you win your lawsuit. In sum, the lawyer only gets paid if you win. Contingent fee agreements are limited to specific practice areas in civil law.
Flat fee: For "routine" legal work where the attorney generally knows the amount of time and resources necessary to complete the task, he/she may be willing to bill you a flat fee for services performed.