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How do I report employment discrimination?

If you think you are a victim of employment discrimination, there are specific steps you need to take to report the issue and, if necessary, file a discrimination lawsuit.

To protect your rights at every step in the process, it is important to seek timely advice from an employment law attorney. Any mistakes you make early in the process can be hard to undo later.

Under federal law, employment discrimination is discrimination based on your race or color, your sex, your age if you are age 40 or older, your disability status, your religion or your national origin. Under Florida law, you are also protected from discrimination based on pregnancy. Various actions could be considered discriminatory, including failing to hire you, harassing you, firing you or denying you a promotion or raise based on your status.

If you experience discrimination at work, your first step is to report it to your employer. If have an employee handbook, it should outline the reporting process. Otherwise, your company's human resources department can explain the process. As frustrated as you may feel over your workplace environment, it is important not to say or do anything that would give your employer a legitimate reason to fire you.

If reporting discrimination to your employer does not solve the problem, your next step is to file a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You should do so promptly, as you have a limited amount of time to act. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to prove discrimination. An employment law attorney can help you document your EEOC claim.

The EEOC may attempt mediation of your claim or, in some instances, choose to file an employment discrimination lawsuit. If the EEOC is unable to resolve your claim and chooses not to sue, it will give you a Notice of Right to Sue. You and your attorney can then file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer.

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