Best Ohio Gender Discrimination Lawyer And Top Ohio Disability Employment Attorney Reply: Can my employer be liable for both race and age discrimination? How do I prove religious and national origin discrimination? What should I do if I was fired today because of my disability?
Discrimination at work does not always fall neatly into one category. Sometimes employees face more than one type of discrimination. Employment discrimination can be more like a Chinese menu sometime – a little from column A and a little from column B. Let’s say for example you feel that your boss both has a bias against women and against persons with a disability. But how do you show which discrimination ultimately lead to your termination? Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA“) and Ohio’s own Civil Rights Act, which is found at Ohio R.C. 4112.02, your employer is prohibited from discriminating against you based on either your race/color, religion, gender/sex, national origin, age, and/or disability. The “and/or”
Today, our employment discrimination attorneys will examine an example that deals with both gender and disability discrimination occurring at the same time. Title VII prohibits a boss, manager, or supervisor from using a sex-based reason to fire employees, refuse to hire, or otherwise discriminate against persons with respect to any terms, conditions, or other matters related to their employment. (See I Was Denied A Job Because I Am A Woman!; Can I Sue If I Was Turned Down For A Job Because Of Discrimination?; Can An Employer Refuse To Hire Me Because I’m Transgendered?; Should I Sue For Gender Discrimination?). And, as our employment discrimination lawyers have blogged about before, the ADA makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against “a qualified individual on the basis of disability in regard to … terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.” (See Job Discrimination Attorney: Can I Be Fired For Being Obese?; My Boss Harasses Me Because I’m Disabled. What Should I Do?; and Is High Blood Pressure A Disability? – Call The Right Attorney).
A viable disability or gender discrimination claim can be proven by direct evidence, indirect evidence, or both. Direct evidence of employment discrimination comes when a boss makes or manager makes employment decisions based expressly on the protected class. This would include statements such as “this job is too tough for a woman,” or “I’m not hiring anyone with a disability because I don’t want to deal with the whining and complaining.” Many times, however, direct evidence is not available to prove employment discrimination. For situations where there is no or not enough direct evidence of employment discrimination, the United States Supreme Court set forth an indirect evidence that can be used McDonnell-Douglas Corp. v. Green. In the first phase of making an indirect evidence disability discrimination claim under the McDonnell-Douglas test, the employee must show that: “(1) she suffers from a disability or handicap, as defined by the ADA; (2) she was nevertheless able to perform the essential functions of her job, either with or without reasonable accommodation; and (3) the defendant [employer] took an adverse employment action against her because of, in whole or in part, her protected disability.” Freadman v. Metro. Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. The ADA at 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(5)(A) defines discrimination to include “not making reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability . . ., unless such covered entity can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business of such covered entity.”
Likewise, to show gender discrimination an employee must show: (1) he/she is a member of a protected class; (2) he/she was qualified for her job; (3) he/she suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) he/she was replaced by a person of the opposite gender, or she was treated differently than similarly situated employees of the opposite gender.
If an employee gets past showing these first elements for gender and/or disability discrimination, then the burden shifts to the employer to state a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its employment decision and to produce some credible evidence to support the reason given. This is not a difficult burden for the employer.
At that point, the burden would shift back to the employee to show that the reason given by the employer is a lie or in lawyer-speak, pretext.
Now, let’s get to the mixed employment discrimination example. In Hersh v. M&T Bank, the employee, Sarajane Hersh sued M&T Bank for both gender and disability discrimination. M&T Bank file a motion for summary judgment asking the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to dismiss the case before going to jury trial. Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no way after viewing the facts on both sides one party could win. In this case, the court found that Sarajane could take her case to trial.
Sarajane was a Commercial Relationship Manager at M&T Bank and was able to show how her boss treated her worse than her two male co-workers. Sarajane made significantly less money than her male co-workers. She had large projects taken away from her and assigned to her male co-workers, which negatively affected her job performance. Although M&T Bank always gave her performance reviews that met or exceeded expectations, she was ultimately laid off because of her performance. In addition, Sarajane was able to show that her boss held sexist attitudes. Her boss would entertain clients at strip clubs, and had a Thanksgiving Lunch for male colleges only. Geez, doing stuff like that is almost asking to be sued for gender discrimination.
Then, once Sarajane was diagnosed with cancer that seemed to be the last straw for her boss, she was terminated only 11 months later. Sarajane was able to show that her boss also discriminated against her because of her disability. Once she informed her employer of her cancer, she was no longer able to transfer to another position. She faced even harassment from her boss and ultimately terminated.
M&T Bank tried to assert that they laid Sarajane off in a pre-determined round of layoffs but the court saw through their scheme and allowed Sarajane to show that this was a pretext, a fancy legal term that simply means a lie. The Court ruled against the employer and allowed Sarajane’s case to proceed to trial.
So even if you are not sure whether one or both forms of discrimination exist, it is best to seek the top advice of an experienced employment attorney at once to protect your rights.
If you are searching “I need a lawyer because I have been wrongfully fired or terminated;” or “I have been discriminated against or harassed based on my …” race, national origin, gender, age, religion or disability; or even think that you might need an employment lawyer, then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 291-4744. The Spitz Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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