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Laws Against Discrimination in the Workplace

While discrimination in the workplace has become more difficult to identify, Americans can rely on several federal laws that prohibits job discrimination. In the hiring and terminating process, employers need to be fully aware of the correct legal course of action to avoid discrimination practices. John is an employee in a private sector organization that has strong resistance to enforcement of existing discrimination laws. He wants to file a discrimination complaint against his employer. Based on this scenario, the entire discrimination complaint and civil litigation process will be discussed as it applies to an employee and employer in a private sector organization.

In the case of John filing a discrimination complaint against his employer there are certain steps he has to follow. When an employee of a private sector organization believes that he or she have been discriminated against, he or she can file a charge or claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Private sector employee claims must be filed within 180 days of the event, after the complaint is filed with EEOC, within 10 days the employer is served notice of the charge (Author Unknown, 2008).

An employee with a discrimination complaint against his or her employer will begin his or her journey of reconciliation with the EEOC. The EEOC is made up of five commissioners and a General Counsel appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The collective EEOC is responsible for the enforcement and litigation process of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (Author Unknown, 2008). Based on the initial evidence, the EEOC will determine if a priority investigation will be assigned. For charges that support a violation of a law, a higher priority is set, for charges not so obvious; a follow-up investigation will be needed. A settlement can be sought at anytime during the investigation, but if no settlement can be found, the investigation continues. When the EEOC has finished an investigation, the information will be discussed with the charging party and the employer. At this time, options are considered on how to proceed with the discrimination complaint. The EEOC may dismiss the charges if further investigation will not produce any evidence that a violation of the law has occurred or if discrimination has been established, the EEOC will inform the employer and attempt a resolution between the charging party and employer. The EEOC offers mediation as an alternative to the traditional investigative or litigation process (Author Unknown, 2008). The mediation process is voluntary by both the employer and complainant, in which a third party will facilitate the opposing party’s negotiation process to reach a resolution. This gives both parties an informal platform to work out their issues, differences, and misunderstandings. It is important to know the mediator does not resolve the issue, but helps the parties agree to a common resolution that will benefit both the employer and employee. The mediation process is free, confidential, and most important, avoids the litigation process. If all avenues have been exhausted and the charge warrants due process, than a civil suit may need to be filed.

The apposing parties may request either a trial by jury or trial by Judge only. In a jury trial, a selection of peers will decide the validity of the complaint and the damages awarded, whereas a bench trial a Judge will decide on the issues presented. Once the case has been decided, the losing party has the right to appeal the decision. The appellant must prove that an error has been made and the decision needs to be overturned. At this point, three Judges working together will read the briefs from the opposing parties and either make a decision or recommend oral arguments in the courtroom. The appeals court usually has the final word unless a petition for a writ of certiorari (Appeals process) is filed asking the Supreme Court to review the case (Author Unknown, 2008). This however, is not always granted. The Supreme Court usually gets involved in important legal issues or when two appellate courts give apposing views. In very few cases, the Supreme Court may be required by law to hear the case; otherwise, the review may be turned down.


Knowledge of the legal process and discrimination is power to the success of a business. To protect both the employee and employer, organizations should be fully aware of the discrimination process and its laws. Additionally, organizations should conduct an orientation on ethics and discrimination to express to its employees that his or rights are valued. To discriminate does not only occur in the hiring process, but can occur throughout employment and the firing process. Upon filing a discrimination complaint against an employer, people can expect the process to be quite lengthy. However, the laws are put in place for all to use in the event people truly feel violated against. It is, after all, the strong will and desire that people stand up for what he or she believes in and hope that justice prevails.


Author Unknown (2008). EEOC: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The information was retrieved from the World Wide Web on May 21, 2008:
Author Unknown (2008). U.S. Courts: The Federal Judiciary. The information was retrieved from the World Wide Web on May 21, 2008: