Employment Discrimination and Protections against it in Arizona
Discrimination in the workspace does occur, regardless of the fact that most forms of it are illegal. Let’s find out about employment discrimination and protections against it in Arizona.
According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Arizona has seen a total of 2,324 discrimination charges in 2016. This represents 2.5 percent of all discrimination charges in the US and the breakdown is as follows:
- 590 race-based discrimination charges (1.8 percent of the total for the US)
- 723 sex discrimination charges (2.7 percent)
- 331 charges on the basis of nationality or origin (3.4 percent)
- 97 religious discrimination charges (2.5 percent)
- 65 color-based discrimination charges (2.1 percent)
- 1,115 retaliatory charges
- 573 age-related charges
- 849 disability-related charges
The state offers protection to the workers who face such discrimination on behalf of employers. Let’s take a deeper look at the regulations and the eventual consequences of discriminatory practices at the workplace.
Anti-Discrimination Rules and Regulations
Both Arizona and federal laws offer workers reliable protection against discriminatory practices.
Federal laws prohibit discriminatory practices based on race, nationality, color, origin, sex, age, disability and citizenship status.
There are also local regulations that prohibit similar discriminatory practices, as well as a few additional like discrimination based on pregnancy or the AIDS/HIV status of a person. In Arizona, companies that have 15 employees or more will be subjected to state anti-discrimination law.
Discrimination can present itself in multiple ways. Refusing to hire or discharging a worker on the basis of one of the criteria mentioned above would be considered a discriminatory practice. Workspace harassment will also qualify as the same. The segregation of work sites or work spaces is an obvious and blatant act of employment discrimination and protections against it are clearly spelled out.
What to Do When You’ve Been Discriminated Against?
As an employee, you should be aware of your rights and the fact that you’re entitled to certain protections. If you believe that you’ve been subjected to discrimination, you will need to file a signal with the respective authority.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that is responsible for the enforcement of anti-discriminatory practices. EEOC can be contacted via its website where a signal can be submitted or you can get in touch with the Arizona office.
Filing with the EEOC is required before you can initiate a lawsuit against the employer.
Arizona residents can also file with a local entity. If both Arizona and federal laws apply, the signal submitted locally will also be directed to the EEOC and it will be reviewed under both state and federal regulations.
In Arizona, the local entity that accepts discrimination signals is the Arizona Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General’s office. You will have 180 days from the occurrence of the discriminatory act to file a report. If you intend to take the issue directly to the EEOC, the statute of limitations will be 300 days (there may be some exceptions, however, and in these instances, the statute of limitations will be 180 days).
Depending on the charge that’s filed and the information it contains, the state or federal agency will launch an investigation. Regardless of the findings, the agency will also issue a Right to Sue letter. This document makes it possible to initiate a civil lawsuit against the employer that was engaged in discriminatory practices. The letter is valid for a period of 90 days, after which a civil lawsuit against the employer cannot be launched.
Usually, filing a lawsuit will be a last resort option for people who have been subjected to unfair treatment. There’s a reason why other options should be exhausted first – proving discrimination can be very difficult. Communication with the employer, written statements and emails will have to be collected, giving an employment attorney something substantial to work with.