Both state and federal laws provide employees with a right to seek money damages in cases of discriminatory firings. These laws prevent an employer from firing an employee because the employee is within one of the protected groups including race, gender, age, disability, national origin, religious affiliation or sexual orientation. These statutes also protect employees from sexual harassment in the workplace and against retaliation for protected activity, such as objecting to an employer’s discriminatory conduct.
Other statutes like the Family Medical Leave Act protect employees from discrimination or retaliation in exercising statutory rights like the right to take available family or medical leave.
The employer typically claims the discriminatory firing is justified by business conditions or the employee’s poor work performance. These justifications, if untrue, are called “pretextual.” The employer’s falsity and discriminatory motive are often proven through circumstantial evidence which can include previous positive evaluations which contradict the current claim of poor performance, unfair or uneven use of discipline compared to other employees, stereotyped remarks by the employer’s management which reveal bias, contradictory or improbable justifications for the firing and similar evidence.
Mr. Staples has successfully represented clients in many cases of age discrimination, disability discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and other cases under the state and federal discrimination laws.
For example, Mr. Staples recently represented a store manager who was fired from his company based upon a trumped up customer complaint which was used by his supervisor to hide age discrimination. The age discrimination was shown by evidence the supervisor frequently referred to the store manager as “an old man” who “needed a rocking chair.” This combined with evidence which discredited the claimed customer complaint convinced the employer to make a substantial financial settlement.