Discrimination in the workplace is often considered to be unethical and wrong, but it is also illegal under both Missouri and federal employment laws. During the Civil Rights movement, Congress passed several laws that protect certain classifications of people from termination based on their membership in that protected class. These employment discrimination laws and others allow wrongfully terminated employees to sue their former employers for damages.
Wrongful termination based on discrimination claims tend to be complex lawsuits. This is due to the specific procedures applicable to most employment discrimination claims. Therefore, litigants who have been discriminated against at work should consult with an employment law attorney. Having an attorney to assist in filing and moving a case through the legal system tends to greatly improve a litigant’s chances of success in court.
Types of Wrongful Discrimination Claims
While all types of discrimination in the workplace are bad and should be discouraged, not all employment discrimination is actually illegal. The following types of wrongful termination based on discrimination claims have a legal basis for filing a lawsuit under either Missouri or Federal Law:
- Discrimination on the Basis of Race and Color: Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 of the Reconstruction Act, and the Missouri Human Rights Act make it illegal for an employer, supervisor, or manager to fire any employee solely because of his or her race or color. Race discrimination is the classic example of employment discrimination and is considered to be highly reprehensible.
- Discrimination on the Basis of Nationality: Title VII prevents discrimination in the workplace on the basis of one’s nationality. National origin is distinct from citizenship concerns, but the two concepts are closely related. Similarly, an employee generally cannot be fired for speaking a non-English language at work unless the employer has a lawful English-only policy.
- Sex, Gender, and Sexuality Discrimination: Title VII and the Missouri Human Rights Act prevent employers from firing an employee due to his or her gender. It is generally agreed that firing an employee because he or she identifies as an LGBT person is also illegal; however, it is currently disputed whether firing someone due to their status as a transgender person constitutes firing on the basis of sex.
- Age Discrimination: The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits the firing of an employee over the age of 40 solely because of his or her age.
- Disability Discrimination: The federal Americans With Disabilities Act and the Missouri Human Rights Act make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of one’s disability. This means that a qualified individual with a disability cannot be fired unless some reasonable accommodation of that person’s disability is impossible.
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act: Discrimination against persons serving in uniform is illegal under federal USERRA provisions. In general, employers must hold open a position for an armed forces member serving time in the military for a period of time before firing that individual.
- Genetics Discrimination: The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act is a federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination based on an employee’s genetics or genetic makeup. While GINA is a relatively infrequently used law, it protects employees from being fired due to either actual or perceived genetic deficiencies.
Contact a St. Louis Employment Discrimination Attorney
If you believe you lost your job due to discrimination, the legal team of HKM Employment Attorneys LLP is ready and able to assist you in your time of need. Our St. Louis law firm has a depth of knowledge and experience in employment discrimination claims. We take pride in providing effective and aggressive representation for all of our clients. Contact our St. Louis employment discrimination law firm today.