Area of Law:
Although many people find it hard to believe that racial discrimination still occurs in the workplace, the unfortunate fact is that many employers do still engage in discriminatory practices that favor employees of certain skin colors, races, and ethnicities. If you work in a company that you feel is guilty of such practices, it is important to be aware of what your rights are so that you can know how to move forward with your case. Whether you have been discriminated against yourself or have been asked to participate in a discriminatory practice, it is essential that you seek legal advice as soon as possible so that you can understand the process of handling your case.
The Nebraska Fair Employment Act prohibits any employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Nebraska’s state statutes are also backed up by the federal Civil Rights Act which guarantees the same rights in the workplace for all workers in the United States. On top of the state and federal statutes, many counties and municipal areas, including Omaha, also have local laws and agencies to assist with racial discrimination claims. This means that as a worker in Nebraska, if you feel you have been discriminated against on a racially motivated basis, there are several options that are available to you.
If you want to file a racial discrimination complaint, your attorney will advise you as to which is the best agency to file with. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), for example, only handles claims within companies that have more than 15 employees. Cases involving smaller companies need to be filed at the state or local level. With any racial discrimination case, you need to be careful about time constraints. Both the EEOC and the Nebraska Equal Employment Commission have strict limits regarding when you can file your complaint. From the date of the alleged discriminatory incident, you have 180 days to file either at the state or federal level. You should not wait until the last minute, however, because your case may be subject to other legal deadlines that you are not aware of.
In Nebraska, many cases of racial discrimination go unreported because workers fear retaliation from their employers. You can rest assured, however, because any form of retaliation is just as illegal as the initial act of racial discrimination. Therefore, should your employer punish you for defending your civil rights, you can add this to your discrimination complaint. Furthermore, an employer cannot refuse to hire you or discipline you for previous attempts at whistleblowing even if these previous cases ended up being dismissed.
You may also be wary about the cost and hassle of a lengthy court battle; however, many racial discrimination cases are referred for mediation which tries to settle the case out of court and without the help of a judge. With mediation, it is important to note that both sides can still have their lawyers present if they wish to help smooth and speed up the process. If your case is found to be appropriate for mediation, it is possible that you will be able to settle the matter without further investigation and having to set foot in a courtroom.